Politics

US no-fly list doubles in a year, despite Obama administration claims on Al Qaeda

tsa-screening-2011-12-12.jpg

A screen shows Automated Target Recognition software installed in the advanced imaging technology unit at Miami International Airport in Miami, Fla.

Credit:

Joe Raedle

The US no-fly list of suspected terrorists has more than doubled in the past year, according to the Associated Press.

The list jumped from about 10,000 known or suspected terrorists one year ago to about 21,000, the AP writes in an exclusive story, citing government figures. 

According to the Transportation Security Administration, those on the no-fly list are banned from flying to or within the US, and most are foreigners, although about 500 are Americans.

An official quoted by the AP but not named said much of the increase was due to changes President Barack Obama called for after an attempted terror attack on Christmas 2009.

Before, "a person had to be considered a threat to aviation to be placed on the list," wrote Eileen Sullivan. "But now a person can be on the list if he or she is also considered a threat to domestic or international security or has attended a terror training camp."

The news comes despite the Obama administration's claims that it is close to beating Al Qaeda.  

However, according to the AP story the government "believes the current terror threat extends well beyond the group responsible for the September 2001 attacks."

"Both US intelligence and law enforcement communities and foreign services continue to identify people who want to cause us harm, particularly in the US and particularly as it relates to aviation," Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole reportedly said.

The National Post, however, gives a different take: "Improvements? Maybe. It tells me the U.S. figures there are 21,000 nutbars out there who are actively trying to kill innocent people. Somehow I don’t find that comforting."