This morning, the Associated Press reported that the number of people on the United States’ no-fly list has doubled within the last year. A year ago there were approximately 10,000 names and now there are approximately 21,000. Each name represents the identity of a suspected terrorist who is not allowed to fly into or within the country. About 500 of those on the list are American.
Although many of al-Qaida’s top leaders have been killed at the hands of American forces, the no-fly list reflects potential threats that extend beyond the 9/11 attacks. The drastic increase of suspected terrorists on the list coincides with the attempted bombing of an airplane headed for Detroit around Christmas time, 2009.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pled guilty to the attempted aviation attack. His name had actually been part of a database of names (or partial names) of people linked to potential terrorists (such as through familiar relations) prior to the attack; but Abdulmutallab was not on the specific no-fly or terror watch list.
Since the 2009 event, intelligence experts have since changed the parameters of the terror watch list. “Intelligence agencies across the government reviewed old files to find people who should have been on the government’s terror watch list all along, plus those who should be added because of the new standards put in place to close security gaps,” wrote Associate Press’ Eileen Sullivan. Experts now believe that the government actually had sufficient information to flag Abdulmutallab before his attempted act of terror.
Some of the new parameters for the no-fly list include individuals who have attended a terrorist training camp or those who pose a terrorist threat in a broader sense (not specifically aboard a plane), reports the Associated Press.
If you would like to protect your country against potential terrorists, you might consider a career in homeland security. Homeland Security Careers include working in areas of counterterrorism, intelligence and analysis, border patrol and immigration, cyber security and aviation security. Completing a counterterrorism, information security, cyber security or homeland security degree will help you become eligible to work for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, like the CIA, FBI and U.S. Secret Service.