Federal air marshals' assigned to protect flights since 9-11 have sometimes found their names on the no-fly list and, in some instances, denied boarding privileges, according to The Washington Times.
The problem with federal air marshals (FAM) names matching those of suspected terrorists on the no-fly list has persisted for years, say air marshals familiar with the situation.
One air marshal said it has been “a major problem, where guys are denied boarding by the airline.”
“In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not fly,” the air marshal said. “I've seen guys actually being denied boarding.”
A second air marshal says one agent “has been getting harassed for six years because his exact name is on the no-fly list.”
The Federal Air Marshal Service, the paper reports, issued a security directive on April 23 that allows airlines to clear an air marshal for boarding after it positively identifies the air marshal's status as a law enforcement officer.
Misidentifying air marshals as a possible flight risk may continue, however, because the security directive may not have reached every airline carrier, the security directive explained.
If this does occur, the memo outlined procedures an air marshal should follow if misidentified as an individual on the no-fly list.
“If a FAM is denied boarding based on 'no fly list' issues, FAMS should request to speak to an air carrier supervisory CSR," the directive said. "If the air carrier continues to deny the FAM a boarding pass, FAMS should contact (their supervisor) as soon as possible for assistance."