US No-Fly List More Than Doubles in One Year

On average, there are 1,000 changes to US watchlists each day

The U.S. government’s secret list of suspected terrorists who are prohibited from flying to or within the country has more than doubled in the past year.

The no-fly list went from about 10,000 names one year ago to about 21,000, according to government figures, about 500 of those are U.S. citizens. The huge increase in such a short time was a response to the failed Christmas 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner, according to government officials.

Changes have been made to the standards for getting on the list. Now, a person doesn’t have to be considered a threat to aviation to be put on a no-fly list, but if the government says they are a threat in any way to domestic or international security.

“The news that the list is growing tells us that more people’s rights are being violated,” said Nusrat Choudhury, of the ACLU. “It’s a secret list, and the government puts people on it without any explanation. Citizens have been stranded abroad.”

The ACLU has previously represented plaintiffs who complain of not being able to fly, although they claim to be perfectly innocent. Back in 2004, the no-fly list was about the size it is now, with 20,000 names, but many people, including a sitting Senator at the time Ted Kennedy, were stopped before flying despite having no connection to terrorism.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for