False identifications based on a terrorist no-fly list have for years prevented some federal air marshals from boarding flights they are assigned to protect, according to officials with the agency, which is finally taking steps to address the problem.
Federal Air Marshals FAMs familiar with the situation say the mix-ups, in which marshals are mistaken for terrorism suspects who share the same names, have gone on for years — just as they have for thousands of members of the traveling public.
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,” said the air marshal, who asked not to be named because the job requires anonymity. “Ive seen guys actually being denied boarding.”
A second air marshal said one agent “has been getting harassed for six years because his exact name is on the no-fly list.”