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October 05, 2006

No fly list includes some very unlikely suspects

BS News has obtained a copy of the "no fly" list, a secret roster of suspected terrorists compiled after the attacks of September 11th. Among the 44,000 terror suspects: Bolivian president Evo Morales, the dead 9/11 hijackers, and everyone named "Robert Johnson:"

Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those names. Kroft talked to 12 people with the name Robert Johnson, all of whom are detained almost every time they fly. The detentions can include strip searches and long delays in their travels.

"Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list," says Donna Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of security in the post-9/11 world. "They're going to be inconvenienced every time … because they do have the name of a person who's a known or suspected terrorist," says Bucella.

The authorities have spent $144 million dollars and 3 years trying to "fix" the list, but have so far been unsuccessfu


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» Deceased Legendary Blues Artist on "No Fly" List? from Internal Monologue
If Robert Johnson is on the list, you better put his admirer Eric Clapton on there, too. If only Led Zeppelin knew they were covering a future terrorist. Apparently, "John Williams" is also on the list. I know the Star Wars movies have been annoying ... [Read More]


The "no fly list" is probably one of those things that would be a good idea with appropriate appeals, safeguards, etc.

But can you trust the people who gave us the faulty FL voter-purge lists and the idea that enemy combatants should have no right to appeal their status to do this right?

I guess the Dem. talking point should be "you think the President can correctly ID 'enemy combatants'? ask Robert Johnson how the 'no-fly list' is working out for him"

OTOH -- this story needs to be independently verified: CBS News could have been fed a fake name or two in order to discredit the whole story. It wouldn't have been the first time such a thing's been done ...

I guess that's what you get for selling your soul to the devil. Why do long dead blues pioneers hate America?

Another 'terrrrorist' name: David Nelson.

Same deal

the dead 9/11 hijackers

Maybe they're on the list because they're still alive?

My 13 year old son's name is on the list. The airlines give you instructions on how to get yourself cleared, but at the same time, say that "it probably won't work." I acknowledge the importance of security, but honestly...

Clare, I'm writing an article about the no-fly list and I was wondering if I could ask you a few more questions about your experiences with the list.

I sent an email to the address you gave in the comments.

Hellhounds AND the Dept. of Homeland Security on his trail!


I have a friend at work named Robert Johnson who flies at least once per year to his time-share in Mexico. Seriously (I add that because I know I'm often difficult to take seriously), would you want me to ask him any questions too? I've never heard him mentioning anything about TSA harrassment, but then he's the kind of guy who's extremely nice and mild-mannered and rarely complains about anything. (Yeah, he's basically a freak.)
Just let me know.

That deal with the devil at the crossroads? Homeland Security knows about it.

"I got the no-fly list blues!"

-Robert Johnson, Delta Blues Terrorist

There is a union brother I know named John Thomas who is on the list. He has actually done some research and found out that it is for some guy who was on the FBI wanted list who used it as an alias. The guy has been captured and is in prison and his name is still on the list. What makes it hard for him is he is a propman on the national tour for the Lion King and even the mouse can't get his name off the list.

Robert Johnson did record "Terraplane Blues" in 1936.

"Puh hee hee, please don't block the road
'Cause she's reachin' a cold one hundred and I'm booked and I got to go"

One thing that could be fixed is the ungrammatical expression "no fly list", along with "no fly zone".
"You bad man. You no fly."
I believe that the New York Times, among others, gets it right.

To be fair, Robert Johnson's soul belongs to the devil. Who knows what the devil could demand...

John Williams, huh? Didn't he compose the US' new anthem?

I had a very interesting conversation with Joe Tentro, half of the investigative team who broke the no-fly story. He explained that there are actually a lot of different no-fly lists. There's the central TSA list and then there's each airline's in-house troublemaker/pinko list.

There are relatively few American citizens on the TSA's no-fly list. Most Americans who get flagged for political reasons are put on the lists compiled by individual airlines.

These in-house lists are populated primarily by garden variety thugs who get drunk and start fights and local political activists. The airlines often ask local law enforcement to send them lists of activists they're watching. According to Tentro, people who write bad things about airlines can also be singled out for extra searches.

Officially, the airlines don't share their internal lists with the TSA, but as Tentro explained, the airline security guys are usually retired FBI agents who chat with their former colleagues. So, names on one airline's shit list can get "backchanneled" to the TSA, but only if individual airline officials make an effort to pass that info on.

My conversation with Tentro explains a whole lot about my airport experiences. I usually can't check in at the remote kiosks. When I swipe my passport, I almost always get a cryptic message about the need to check in at the desk. When I do, I get strange looks from the staff, but so far, I haven't been stopped or questioned.

When I flew home from Orlando, my checked bag had obviously been rifled after I checked it. Extra clothes I'd never unfolded during the trip were balled up and shoved back into my suitcase and items I'd zipped into my cosmetics bag showed up at the bottom of my suitcase, even though the bag had been completely zipped up again.

My good makeup brushes were shoved into pockets in my cosmetics case that were way too small for them. So they got splayed by the time I unpacked my suitcase.

That's awful, Lindsay. I would feel incredibly violated if people rifled through my personal belongings like that. I would also be furious. I'm furious just reading that it happened to you. I think I'll avoid flying through the US in the forseeable future.

This entire security strategy is diabolical. The purpose of these blanket measures is to reinforce peoples' sense of fear, and to perpetuate the idea that there is some kind of "total war" underway. How else could you justify the USD $2 billion a week expenditures?

The last few times I've flown, my bags had obviously been opened and pawed through. I think that may just be SOP now.

I've heard that you can get yourself off the no-fly list by adding or changing your middle initial. If my name were Robert Johnson, I'd try it.

BS News has obtained a copy of the "no fly" list, a secret roster of suspected terrorists compiled after the attacks of September 11th.

B S news? Typo? :)

I know that Gary Smith guy ... he definitely can't be trusted. ;)

Feel better, Lindsay.

My signigicant other and I are planning to fly to Hawaii. Should I go? Have you heard about the "terror threat score"? Probably not.

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