The Congressional No-Fly List

There are now 80,000 names on the U.S. government’s secret terror (“no-fly”) watchlist, according to a new report. Before 9/11, just 16 names were on the list, and by the end of the year the number jumped to 1,000. By 2002, the list had 40,000 names.

But the list hasn’t been used to just stop terrorists. Some of the names on that list belong to U.S. lawmakers:

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), 2004:

U.S. Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy said yesterday that he was stopped and questioned at airports on the East Coast five times in March because his name appeared on the government’s secret “no-fly” list. [Federal air security officials] acknowledged being embarrassed that it took the senator and his staff more than three weeks to get his name removed.

Rep. John D. Lewis (D-GA), 2004:

Rep. John Lewis, D – Georgia, a nine-term congressman famous for his civil rights work with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has been stopped 35 to 40 times over the past year, his office said…Lewis contacted the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security and executives at various airlines in a so-far fruitless effort to get his name off the list, said spokeswoman Brenda Jones.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK), 2004:

Rep. Donald E. Young (R-Alaska), said he was flagged on the “watch list” when the airline computer system mistook him for a man on the list named Donald Lee Young.

Feeling safer?