GOP rep: No-fly list 'critical' in face of ISIS

The chairman of the House's transportation security subcommittee said Thursday that the federal government's controversial "no-fly" terrorist watch list is "crucial" to protecting international flights to the U.S. in the face of threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The no-fly list has been criticized by groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who have successfully argued in court that the federal government is not transparent enough about its watchlist selections.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee's transportation panel, said Thursday that commercial airliners are a "highly attractive target" to terrorists, especially ISIS members who have western passports.
"Last week, our nation observed the 13th anniversary of 9/11," Hudson said during a hearing about aviation security. "The fact remains that our enemies still view the U.S. aviation sector as a highly attractive target, as evidenced by several thwarted plots and attempted attacks."
"In addition to the threats posed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates," he continued, "the thousands of foreign fighters, including U.S. citizens, affiliated with terrorist groups like ISIS are a growing and serious threat to the security of U.S. aviation and the homeland. It is critical that we accurately identify individuals who pose this threat and prevent them from boarding flights to the United States."
Lawmakers have raised concerns ISIS has thousands of members that have U.S. or European passports and could slip into America undetected.
A federal court recently sided with the civil liberties groups' claim that it is too hard for passengers to challenge their placement on the no-fly list.
Hudson defended the Transportation Security Administration's use of the terrorist watch list on Thursday, however.
"TSA relies on a multi-layered approach to aviation security with everything from Federal Air Marshals, to canines, to the latest explosives detection technology," he said.
"One of these layers is a behind-the-scenes program known as Secure Flight," Hudson continued. "This program, which is the subject of today’s hearing, takes passenger data it receives from airlines and matches it against the U.S. Government’s consolidated Terrorist Watch List, including the No Fly and Selectee Lists. This program is crucial not only for domestic flights, but also for protecting international flights bound for the United States."
Hudson acknowledged the complaints of civil liberties groups, however, saying "while these lists serve as an important counterterrorism tool, we must ensure that travelers who are incorrectly matched to a list are able to resolve those issues in a timely, effective manner."
Hudson concluded that it was a delicate balancing act for the federal officials between airline safety and civil liberties.
"The bottom line is that our aviation security is only as strong as its weakest link," he said. "We must identify individuals who pose a threat, such as extremists with Western passports who have joined the fight in Iraq or Syria, and take the necessary steps to protect the homeland."


The Hill, By: Keith Laing
  • Office Locations Push

    Office Name Location Image Map URL
    Washington, DC Office 2112 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-3715
    Fax: (202) 225-4036
    Hours: M-F 8:30am-6:00pm
    Concord Office 325 McGill Avenue, NW
    Suite 500
    Concord, NC 28027
    Phone: (704) 786-1612
    Fax: (704) 782-1004
    Hours: M-F 8:30am-5:30pm
    Fayetteville Office 225 Green Street, Suite 202
    Fayetteville, NC 28301
    Phone: (910) 997-2070
    Fax: (910) 817-7202
    Hours: M-F 8:30am-5:30pm
    Pinehurst Office  Sandhills Community College
    Logan Building, Room 221
    3395 Airport Road
    Pinehurst, NC 28374
    (910) 246-5374
    Hours: Tues/Thurs 8:30am-5:30pm
    and by appointment
    Albemarle Office   Stanly County Commissioner's Office, Suite 9
    1000 N. First Street
    Albemarle, NC 28001
    Phone: (704) 786-1612
    Hours: Third Thursday of Every Month, 9:30am-12pm


    How to use: Insert <span class="EXACT_VALUE_LABEL_AS_ENTERED_BELOW">&nbsp;</span> where you'd like the value to be populated.

    Non-breaking space within span tags - &nbsp; - is required for WYSIWYG.

    (no spaces or special characters)


    Comments (optional)
    repName John Smith  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Haverhill District Office
    1234 S. Courthouse
    Haverhill, CA 35602
    district 21st District of California  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2012  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2012  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2012  
    repStateABBR AZ  
    repDistrict 1  
    repState Arizona  
    repDistrictText 1st  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills  

Footer Survey

*By answering this survey, you are subscribing to my newsletter.