Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson (Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is calling for the Transportation Security Administration and FBI to put the pro-Trump protesters that stormed the Capitol building on the national “no-fly list” — a category usually reserved for terrorists.
Thousands of rioters in support of President Donald Trump’s election challenge fought with cops, breached security barricades, and entered the Capitol Wednesday afternoon, forcing a lockdown and resulting in the deployment of National Guard troops. Multiple people died in the event, including a Capitol Police officer and a Trump supporter who was shot by law enforcement.
Thompson said in a statement, “Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday, I am urging the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes. This should include all individuals identified as having entered the Capitol building — an intrusion which threatened the safety of Members of Congress and staff and served as an attack on our Nation.”
Thompson continued, “We already saw reports of ‘unruly mobs’ in air on the way to Washington, D.C. It does not take much imagination to envision how they might act out on their way out of D.C. if allowed to fly unfettered. This is an action that TSA and the FBI, by law, are able to take but, to my knowledge, have not yet taken. Alleged perpetrators of a domestic terrorist attack who have been identified by the FBI should be held accountable.”
Sam Mintz, a transportation reporter for Politico, posted the statement on Twitter, noting that the committee does not have the power to order protesters be placed on the no-fly list.
“[This is] a request (albeit one with a lot of eyes on it),” he said. “No indication yet from TSA or FBI that this has actually happened.”
Thompson’s request came after the nation’s largest flight attendants union also expressed safety concerns and demanded that identified rioters be barred from their return flights.
According to the TSA, the no-fly list is “a small subset of the U.S. government Terrorist Screening Database (also known as the terrorist watchlist) that contains the identity information of known or suspected terrorists.” Individuals are placed on the watchlist when they are “reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.”
A spokesperson for the TSA said in a statement, “We prepare for all contingencies. For security reasons we do not discuss the precise details of our multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen. Travelers may notice additional law enforcement and canine presence, especially when events justify an increased security posture,” the statement said. “TSA is, of course, always at the ready to accommodate FBI requests and Congressional authorizations related to the No Fly List.”