No-Fly List Has Doubled in Size and Will Get Bigger, Say Gov't Officials

Since attempted Christmas bombing of Northwest 253, terror watchlist has grown.

ByABC News
March 10, 2010, 3:37 PM

March 10, 2010 — -- U.S. enforcement and intelligence officials said Wednesday that the no-fly list barring passengers with suspected terror ties from boarding planes has already increased in size since the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, and was likely to get much larger.

"It's getting bigger and it will get much bigger," said Russell Travers, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testifying at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

After the hearing, government officials confirmed to ABC News an earlier press report that the no-fly list had nearly doubled in size since December 25, from 3,400 names to over 6,000 individuals.

"The figure reported today generally reflects that expansion, although the number of individuals on the no-fly list varies daily," said an official from the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center (TSC).

In the wake of the attempted bombing of Northwest 253, President Obama ordered a review of the country's watchlisting procedures after it was discovered that suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in a vast terrorism database called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), but had not been flagged for the no-fly or the larger watchlist by U.S. officials.

"This was not a failure to collect information, and, unlike the missteps leading up to 9/11, it was not a failure to share it," said committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I.-Conn., at Wednesday's hearing.

After the attempted attack, said TSC Director Tim Healey at the hearing, TSC undertook a review of the no-fly list and reviewed several other watchlist databases to "ascertain the current visa status of all known and suspected terrorists, beginning with the no-fly list."

"The TSC has made some temporary and limited additions to the watchlist to counter the specific terrorist threat observed on December 25, 2009," said Healy. "As a result, a threat-related target group was identified and individuals from specific high-threat countries…to prevent future attacks."

\"This was not a failure to collect information, and, unlike the missteps leading up to 9/11, it was not a failure to share it,\" said committee chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I.-Conn., at Wednesday's hearing.

After the attempted attack, said TSC Director Tim Healey at the hearing, TSC undertook a review of the no-fly list and reviewed several other watchlist databases to \"ascertain the current visa status of all known and suspected terrorists, beginning with the no-fly list.\"

\"The TSC has made some temporary and limited additions to the watchlist to counter the specific terrorist threat observed on December 25, 2009,\" said Healy. \"As a result, a threat-related target group was identified and individuals from specific high-threat countries…to prevent future attacks.\" ","publishedDate":"2010-03-10T20:37:55Z","contributors":[{"name":"ABC News","url":"","role":"","logo":"","logoAlt":""}],"modifiedDate":"2010-03-11T12:20:54Z","section":"Blotter","wordCount":318,"relatedTags":{"heading":"Related Topics","tags":[]},"lead":{"ratio":"16x9","disableForMobile":false,"type":"xl","mediaType":"image","alignCaptionToBody":true},"ads":{"Sticky":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"RightRail":{"kvps":{"test":true}},"InlineBox":{},"InlineOutstream":{"disabled":false},"Taboola":{"position":"bottom","pageType":"article","config":{"network":"abcnews-abcnews","mode":"thumbnails-a","container":"taboola-below-article-thumbnails","type":"article","targetType":"mix","placement":"Below Article Thumbnails"}}},"featuredVideo":null,"dateline":"March 10, 2010 —","seo":{},"LivePromotion":{}},"autoUpdate":{"enabled":false,"topics":["general-elections-2020-balance-of-power"]}},"upw":{"balanceOfPower":{"electoral":{"header":"Biden Projected to be President-Elect","candidates":{"democrats":{"id":1036,"displayName":"Joe Biden","shortDisplayName":"J. 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