Faisal Shahzad and the No-Fly List

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So how did Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad make it onto an Emirates Airlines flight to Dubai last Monday even though he had already been put on the no-fly list? The latest story, apparently, is that it was semi-deliberate:

Because it sometimes takes hours, or even days, for all airlines to enter new no-fly listings in their reservation computers […] Homeland Security does maintain procedures for sending out what amounts to an APB about the new listing….However, the officials said, at the FBI’s request, some, but not all airlines, were notified of the new listing. The official said the FBI was concerned that giving out Shahzad’s name to too many people might fuel news leaks that grew into a torrent during the afternoon of May 3. Among the airlines that were not phoned with the APB about the new no-fly listing for Shahzad: Emirates Airlines, the very carrier Shahzad had chosen to try to evade a massive dragnet by the FBI and various local partners, including New York Police Department, had set up to collar the Times Square attack suspect.

Was this the right call? Beats me. But it sounds like a policy issue, not a screwup.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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