Homeland Security Chairman Calls For Capitol Hill Rioters To Be Put On No-Fly List
"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," Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said.
January 11, 2021 at 3:28 pm
Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security Rep. Bennie Thompson has called for the domestic terrorists involved in the attack on Congress to be put on the no-fly list, as multiple airline companies reported problems with supporters of President Donald Trump disrupting flights.
“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," 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. 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," he said, referencing an incident on an Alaska Airlines flight last Thursday, just one day after the terrorist attack on Capitol Hill.
"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,” Thompson added.
In recent days, there has been sustained effort by airlines and Democrats in Congress to put those involved in the attack on the no-fly list, but the FAA has not confirmed whether those who participated in the terrorist attack have actually been placed on the list.
More than 90 people have been arrested on federal charges related to the attack on Capitol Hill, according to The Hill. Five people were killed in the chaos when Trump supporters invaded the building with multiple pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and heavy arms. Rioters were seen with zip ties and stun guns, and law enforcement agencies have said some intended to take members of Congress hostage.
But airlines also reported issues with Trump supporters leaving Washington, D.C., after the attack.
Alaska Airlines permanently banned 14 people due to "mob behavior" on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Seattle, Washington, last Thursday, according to Reuters.
The Trump supporters “were non-mask compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members,” the airline said in a statement.
“Because of their actions and non-compliance, we have banned 14 of those passengers from future travel with us,” the airline statement added.
Since the terrorist attack, Trump supporters were “exhibiting politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew," Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, told Reuters.
“To say I am worried about our flight attendants’ safety is an understatement. This behavior is dangerous and threatening,” Hedrick said, adding that “anyone displaying threatening or abusive behavior will not be allowed to board our aircraft now or in the future.”
One day after the incident on the Alaska Airlines flight, another set of Trump supporters caused problems on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Phoenix, Arizona. The American Airlines pilot went so far as to threaten to turn the plane around after Trump supporters refused to wear masks and began chanting the president's name, Business Insider reported.
A number of Trump supporters shared a video of themselves violating the airline's rules and complaining about the pilot.
— Doctor President-elect Amanda Head (@AmandaHead) January 8, 2021
There have also been multiple incidents in the past weeks where Trump supporters were harassing airline workers and disrupting flights.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson released his own statement condemning the actions of Trump supporters and stressing that those who try to disrupt flights will be penalized.
"The FAA monitors and tracks all commercial passenger flights in real-time and reporting mechanisms are in place for crew members to identify any number of safety and security concerns that may arise in flight," Dickson said.
"This includes unruly passenger behavior, which can distract, disrupt, and threaten crew members’ ability to conduct their safety functions. The FAA will pursue strong enforcement action against anyone who endangers the safety of flight, with penalties ranging from monetary fines to jail time.”
A video is going viral online showing a man being thrown off of a flight in Washington, D.C., with the man alleging that he was called a "terrorist."
“This is what they do to us. They kicked me off the plane. They called me a f**king terrorist, and they f**king want to ruin my life," he yelled as he was escorted away from a gate.
People who broke into the Capitol Wednesday are now learning they are on No-Fly lists pending the full investigation. They are not happy about this. pic.twitter.com/5GfHo1eVU8
— Ray [REDACTED] (@RayRedacted) January 10, 2021
Many are tying it to the Capitol Hill attack last Wednesday but it is unclear if the man in the video was connected to the riots.
Social media was flooded with other videos showing Trump supporters being thrown off planes, but it is unclear if these were connected to the Capitol Hill attack or if it was just general anger at mask regulations.
There may be issues with putting American citizens on the no-fly list. While there are about 1,000 U.S. citizens on the no-fly list, Republican lawmakers have sought to restrict agencies from putting Americans on the list, and generally only do it when terrorism charges have been filed or lead to convictions, according to Forbes.
This will make it difficult to put those involved in the attack on the no-fly list, as there is no domestic terrorism law that makes it a crime. Thompson himself has fought for years for the government to create a domestic terrorism law but Republicans have repeatedly stymied his efforts, claiming any law would unfairly target right-wing groups.
"Domestic terrorism, fueled largely by a surge in white supremacist extremism, presents a growing threat to the security of our homeland,” said Thompson last year.