6-Year-Old Northeast Ohio Girl on 'No Fly' List
WESTLAKE, Ohio - Alyssa Thomas, 6, is a little girl who is already under the spotlight of the federal government. Her family recently discovered that Alyssa is on the "no fly" list maintained by U.S. Homeland Security.
"We were, like, puzzled," said Dr. Santhosh Thomas. "I'm like, well, she's kinda six-years-old and this is not something that should be typical."
Dr. Thomas and his wife were made aware of the listing during a recent trip from Cleveland to Minneapolis. The ticket agent at the Continental counter at Hopkins Airport notified the family. "They said, well, she's on the list. We're like, okay, what's the story? What do we have to do to get off the list? This isn't exactly the list we want to be on," said Dr. Thomas.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations in Cleveland will confirm that a list exists, but for national security reasons, no one will discuss who is on the list or why.
The Thomas family was allowed to make their trip but they were told to contact Homeland Security to clear-up the matter. Alyssa just received a letter from the government, notifying the six-year-old that nothing will be changed and they won't confirm nor deny any information they have about her or someone else with the same name.
"She's been flying since she was two-months old, so that has not been an issue," said Alyssa's dad. "In fact, we had traveled to Mexico in February and there were no issues at that time."
According to the Transportation Security Administration, Alyssa never had any problems before because the Secure Flight Program just began in June for all domestic flights. A spokesperson will only say, "the watch lists are an important layer of security to prevent individuals with known or suspected ties to terrorism from flying."
Right now, Alyssa has other priorities. "My Barbies, my magic mirror and jumping on my bed!" But her name will likely stay on the list and as for the next time she flies, the FBI says they'll rely on the common sense of the security agents.
"She may have threatened her sister, but I don't think that constitutes Homeland Security triggers," said Dr. Thomas.
The Thomas family can still fly, but the check-in process will likely take much longer. They plan on making another appeal to U.S. Homeland Security.