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Lawmaker calls for Capitol protesters to be put on no-fly list as airlines, airports increase security

American Airlines airplanes parked at Miami International Airport in a September 2015 file image. (Fabio Lamanna/Dreamstime/TNS)
January 08, 2021

One top U.S. lawmaker urged authorities to put protesters who stormed the Capitol building on a no-fly list as airlines and law enforcement stepped up their security at airports surrounding Washington, D.C. this week.

“Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday, I am urging the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes,” Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

“This should include all individuals identified as having entered the Capitol building—an intrusion which threatened the safety of Members of Congress and staff and served as an attack on our Nation,” Thompson added.

On Wednesday, some of the “Stop the Steal” protesters forced their way into the Capitol building, taking down barriers, climbing walls and pushing past law enforcement in order to breach the federal offices. Lawmakers inside were told to shelter in place until police could get the protesters under control.

“We already saw reports of ‘unruly mobs’ in air on the way to Washington, D.C. It does not take much imagination to envision how they might act out on their way out of D.C. if allowed to fly unfettered” Thompson said. “This is an action that TSA and the FBI, by law, are able to take but, to my knowledge, have not yet taken. Alleged perpetrators of a domestic terrorist attack who have been identified by the FBI should be held accountable.”

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) representing 17 airlines’ workforces, released a statement Wednesday condemning the “mob mentality” behavior that she said took place on several flights leading up to the Capitol Hill chaos, adding that the actions impacted the safety and security of other passengers.

“Our first priority in aviation safety and security is to keep any problems on the ground. Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today. Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”

Several airlines, including United, American and Delta, said they were partnering with law enforcement to amp up security and keep people safe in the aftermath of the Capitol siege, Reuters reported.

The TSA also said they were implementing additional layers of security, but did not provide any details on the action.