60 Minutes’s Steve Kroft has obtained a copy of the U.S. government’s “no-fly” list of suspected terrorists. It contains the names of tens of thousands of utterly non-terroristic citizens, along with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, neither of whom, I suspect, are likely to be flying on commercial U.S. flights any time soon, let alone under their own names.
Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those
names. Kroft talked to 12 people with the name Robert Johnson, all
of whom are detained almost every time they fly. The detentions
can include strip searches and long delays in their travels.
“Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list,” says Donna
Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up
the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets
the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of
security in the post-9/11 world. “They’re going to be
inconvenienced every time … because they do have the name of
a person who’s a known or suspected terrorist,” says Bucella.