February 2, 2012
The United States government secret list of suspected terrorist who are banned from flying to and within the country has more than doubled in the past year.
The no-fly list jumped from about 10,000 known or suspected terrorists one year ago to about 21,000, according to a US counterterrorism official.
The surge began after a failed terrorist attack on Christmas 2009, which targeted a Detroit-bound jetliner. The US President Barack Obama lowered the standard for putting people on the list, and then government scoured its files for anyone who qualified.
Before the 2009 incident a person had to be considered a threat to aviation to be placed on the list. But now People considered as a threat to domestic or international security or attended a terror training camp are also included, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Most people on the list are from other countries, while about 500 are Americans. The US government does not disclose who is on the list or why someone might have been placed on it, making it impossible for people to defend themselves
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the US government on behalf of Americans who believe they are on the no-fly list and have not been able to travel by air for work or to see family.