Why Were Two Air France Passenger Names on a Terrorism Watch List?

By Sadie Bass

Jun 11, 2009 11:58am

The mystery surrounding Air France flight 447 continues to deepen as crews recover more bodies and wreckage debris from the crash site.  French magazine, L’Express, reported this week that two passengers on board the flight were on a terrorism watch list in France.  However, French and U.S. government sources said that there were no extremists on the plane.  “No names on the manifest triggered any U.S. intelligence persons of interest,” a former senior White House official said.    Terrorism watch lists can lead to confusion when Arabic names aren’t translated well by Western countries.  Often, only two names are listed on watch-lists, but in reality many in the Arab world have four names.  This ommision can make identifications more difficult. The French aren’t ruling out terrorism as an official cause of the crash, but at this point, it is not the focus of the investigation.

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