Violent rioters of the US Capitol attack would be 'good candidates' for the federal no-fly list, expert says

Violent rioters of the US Capitol attack would be 'good candidates' for the federal no-fly list, expert says
Riots at the US Capitol Building.Michael Nigro/Pacific Press:LightRocket/Getty
  • The US Capitol attack that occurred on January 6, resulted in calls for rioters to be placed on the federal no-fly list.
  • Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the rioters to be placed on the list and the FBI said they were "actively looking" into doing so prior to President Joe Biden's inauguration.
  • An aviation expert told Insider that if the rioters are considered a national threat, it shouldn't be "controversial" to say they deserved a place on the confidential federal no-fly list.

After violence and chaos ensued at the US Capitol building in Washington DC earlier this month lawmakers have called for those involved to be added to the federal no-fly list.

On January 6, rioters barged into the US Capitol building wearing clothing associated with white supremacy and waving confederate flags as lawmakers were in the midst of certifying election results for President Joe Biden. Lawmakers were forced to evacuate as rioters ransacked their offices and the Senate Chamber. A Reuters photographer who was on the scene even heard some of the mob members discussing hanging former Vice President Mike Pence.

Violent rioters of the US Capitol attack would be 'good candidates' for the federal no-fly list, expert says
US Capitol police officers try to stop supporters of US President Donald Trump to enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification.SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Many of the insurrectionists were not from the nation's capital but from other parts of the country. As they traveled back home to their respective states, some by plane, rioters were caught on camera pestering lawmakers like Sen. Lindsey Graham at an airport.
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The riot, which resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer, set off a wave of urgency to boost security efforts in Washington, DC, and across the US ahead of President Joe Biden's inauguration last week -- including 20,000 National Guard members. Additionally, airlines ramped up security at airports before the inauguration and the Transportation Security Administration said they were looking into individuals to potentially add to the federal no-fly list.

The controversial list is described as "a small subset of the US government Terrorist Screening Database (also known as the terrorist watchlist) that contains the identity information of known or suspected terrorists," as Insider's Sophie-Claire Hoeller previously reported citing TSA.

"The way you get on the list is not public," due to national security, Bryan Del Monte, founder of Aviation Agency and former appointee to the US Department of Defense, told Insider.
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"The way most people are going to find out that they're on the watchlist is they're going to buy a ticket and attempt to board an aircraft, and they're going to get stopped at screening at a checkpoint. And that may the first time they find out they are not allowed to fly," Del Monte said.

According to Del Monte, the federal no-fly list is different from the airline's own list for passengers who don't follow the rules like not wearing a face mask, a requirement to help curb the spread of COVID-19. According to Insider's report, now Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the rioters to be placed on the no-fly list earlier this month. "We are here today because the folks, the people, the insurrectionists who breached the US Capitol, fall under the definition of threats to the homeland and should be immediately added to the TSA no-fly list," Schumer said during a press conference on Jan. 12.
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FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director In Charge Steven D'Antuono told reporters that adding rioters to the federal no-fly list was a possibility less than a week after the Capitol breach.

"As for the no-fly list, we look at all tools and techniques that we possibly can use within the FBI, and that is something that we are actively looking at," D'Antuono said during a press conference.

Capitol rioters "that represent a threat to law and order and the government, the FBI and others are considering placing them from the list in order to preclude them from using the national infrastructure," Del Monte told Insider also stating that because of the "unique nature of their criminal acts in representing a domestic threat to national security, they are good candidates to be placed on the list."
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The FBI has called on the public for assistance to find the suspects involved in the riot. Images and videos of the insurrection flooded social media, leaving a digital paper trail that has helped authorities identify the suspects.

Since then, more than 170 arrests have been made, including Riley June Williams, who is accused of stealing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop, and the "Zip tie Guy" and his mother, and Guy Reffitt, who is accused of threatening his kids if they told authorities about his involvement. But some rioters could go free as officials are deliberating whether or not to charge those who were not involved in violent activity amid concerns of swamping local courthouses, the Washington Post reported.

Del Monte told Insider the purpose of the no-fly list is more of a preventative measure, rather than hold individuals criminally liable for their acts.
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"Whether or not anybody winds up on the list," he said, "should be driven by what the intelligence and what the facts tell us about whether or not they represent an enduring threat to the national security of the United States," Del Monte said.

Del Monte continued: "Now I happen to think those people that were willing to go as far as rifling through the Capitol and stealing Capitol property and waving neo-Nazi and white supremacists materials and who were armed and had handcuffs and clearly had designs to kidnap or kill the vice president, the speaker ... those people represent a unique threat to national security and I don't think it should be particularly controversial to say that those people should not be allowed to fly ever again."

Read more:
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While it sounds easy enough to add identified individuals who participated in a domestic terrorist attack on the federal no-fly list, it actually isn't

The Capitol riots caused chaos in the skies as airlines flew protesters home from a violent day in Washington, DC 179 pro-Trump rioters have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far. This searchable table shows them all.
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