It was a joke.
But a real crisis.
President Donald Trump’s “no-Fly List” was never a joke — it was a real, looming threat to American lives and safety.
And for decades, it has been a constant source of confusion, fear and anger.
The Obama administration created it, and now the president’s own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is saying that it’s a national security threat.
Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has said it’s the “most important issue of our time,” while Trump has dismissed the idea that the list could be used to spy on Americans, insisting that it is “the most dangerous intelligence database in the history of the world.”
In fact, the list is so old that it has never been used by a U.S. president.
Its origins date to the Reagan administration, when it was created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, when the Nixon administration used the “no fly” list to target communists and others suspected of disloyalty.
It was then used against Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Panthers.
Its continued use is an indication that, for all of Trump’s bravado and rhetoric, the administration remains committed to a flawed, flawed system of mass surveillance.
But how did the Trump administration go from a joke that was intended to be a joke, to a national-security threat?
In the case of the “No Fly List,” the answer lies in the FBI’s ability to gather information from hundreds of millions of people who have not been formally identified as a “threat” to national security.
The FBI has a “no show” rule that means that it will not notify the government that someone on the list has turned away or that the person has requested to remain in the U.K. to seek asylum, and it also won’t notify the United States government that the individual is on the U:1 list.
The “No Show” rule is designed to prevent the government from trying to obtain information from a suspected criminal — and if the FBI can’t collect the information, then the FBI cannot make an arrest or prosecute an individual for any crime.
But that is not how it works, because the “show” rule has nothing to do with the person who is on an “alert” list, but rather, it’s designed to protect against any information that could be collected in a terrorist attack.
The U.N. human rights committee, in its 2014 report on the “detention and interrogation” program, said that the “security and intelligence” provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were not “particularly restrictive” because they allowed the FBI to use the “probable cause” standard to determine who was a potential threat, even if the information was “not sufficient to establish that an offense has been committed.”
In other words, if you had information about someone on a list that you believed was potentially dangerous, you could still obtain the information through the “use of probable cause,” and then use that information to prosecute the individual.
The reason is simple: If you were able to gather intelligence about a suspected terrorist and then charge him with a crime, you would have an easy way to prosecute him for his crimes and to find out if he was really a threat.
“You could use that intelligence to go to court and have a case brought against that person,” said Bruce Schneier, author of the seminal book, The Fourth Amendment: A Short Guide to Protecting Your Privacy.
“And you would likely win.”
The “show rule” has no bearing on whether or not a person is on a “suspicious” list.
There is no reason to believe that a terrorist will go through the ordeal of being identified and charged by the FBI and face a trial in a court of law.
That’s not because the FBI does not want to make arrests.
The department routinely arrests people it thinks are terrorists — including, most recently, a prominent activist in Texas who was on the terrorist watch list for more than two years, until he was arrested and charged in 2015.
In 2016, it arrested an Iranian man who was wanted in connection with the 2016 attack on the World Trade Center.
And in 2017, it was revealed that an undercover FBI agent was sent to Iran in an attempt to help an Iranian-American bank owner evade sanctions.
The government also uses the “suspend” rule in order to make it difficult for law enforcement to gather evidence in a case.
This means that the government can’t take a person’s name or even a description of him or her — or even if he or she is on that list — and then arrest him or herself.
In other cases, the government will simply inform the person that they are on the watch list and then wait for the FBI, which will then inform the government when the person can contact the government to ask to be removed.
The administration also does not have a system in place for determining when someone can be removed from