People who partook in the Capitol riot in January 2021 are now finding it hard to travel by plane.
Since the attacks at the Capitol at the beginning of 2021, the Department of Justice has said that 1,070 arrests have been made. Of that total, 335 people have received a sentence that included time behind bars, with 119 receiving a sentence that included house arrest.
The longest sentence to date was given to the Proud Boys’ former leader, Enrique Tarrio, who received a sentence of 22 years in prison for charges of seditious conspiracy.
This week, CBS News journalist Scott MacFarlane took to the social media platform X to report on the trouble that many of these defendants are having trying to travel by plane.
In his post, he attached a letter from James Rahm III, a defendant who said he was put on a “terrorist watchlist,” which resulted in him having problems with airport security when he tried to get on a plane.
As Rahm wrote in his letter, which asked for leniency in sentencing:
“Flying has become a huge problem. Airlines refuse to allow me to check in or board. After waiting about 1-2 hours standing at a desk, I am finally issued a boarding pass.
“Then TSA takes me for a personal screening which is intense, uncomfortable, intrusive and lengthy. TSA sets up an additional security check at the gate. They empty all my belongings, while the other passengers wait to board. …
“This treatment is extremely inconvenient and embarrassing for me and my girlfriend, who suffers the same treatment, just for flying with me.”
Newsweek reached out to TSA for comments about the claims that Rahm has made. However, the agency just referred the media outlet to the Traveler Redress Inquiry Program that the Department of Homeland Security runs.
It allows any traveler to submit a complaint about any troubles they may have experienced while they’re at airports, which could include “screening problems at ports of entry” and “watch list issues.”
Not long after the Capitol riots took place, federal officials were discussing whether they should be adding those who participated to a no-fly list, which would effectively bar them from flying on an airplane.
That was supposed to be done just temporarily, though, as a way to provide extra security for the inauguration of President Joe Biden, which took place only a few weeks after the riot.
What the TSA ended up doing was adding more air marshals to some flights, and airports had a stronger police presence — especially those in and around Washington, D.C.
While nothing long-term ever came of those discussions, it does seem that something was happening behind the scenes. If Rahm was indeed added to a terrorist watchlist or some other no-fly list, it’s likely that many of the other Capitol riot defendants have been as well.
What recourse they might have for that is likely to be small, if anything at all.