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Mark Kirk’s Latest Tall Tale

Mark Kirk has spent the cycle making one outrageous, over-the-top comment after another and ensuring he keeps his top spot on every list of Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016. As National Journal put it in their latest rankings:

“Kirk needs to run close to a perfect race to win reelection in deep-blue Illinois. So far, he’s doing anything but.The first-term Republican has suffered a seemingly uninterrupted series of gaffes this year, causing even close allies to (temporarily) wonder if he should abandon his campaign.”

And now Kirk is at it again, this time making outlandish, inflammatory claims about airline security. In May, Kirk told multiple media outlets that a man on the no-fly list was on his flight and that the TSA had “a real security breach.” But the response he got from TSA shows that in reality, no one on the no-fly list was on his flight.

Just another reason that national Republicans had to beg Kirk to stop speaking in public, via the Chicago Tribune.

“With Mark Kirk’s strange and offensive comments on everything from airline security to Lindsey Graham’s marital status, he’s spent more time needlessly inflaming situations than he has serving the people of Illinois,” said Sadie Weiner, DSCC National Press Secretary. “Mark Kirk is imploding as he approaches his re-election as the most vulnerable Senator in the country, and it’s no wonder national Republicans have resorted to publicly begging him to stay silent.”

BACKGROUND:

KIRK TOLD MULTIPLE OUTLETS A MAN ON THE NO-FLY LIST WAS ON HIS FLIGHT AND THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY ADMINISTRATION HAD “A REAL SECURITY BREACH”

Headline: “Man On The Nation’s No-Fly List Was On Board A Flight With Senator Kirk” [Chicago Tribune, 5/24/15]

Headline: “Bomb Threat, Man On No-Fly List Delay Kirk’s Flight Home” [Chicago Daily Herald, 5/25/15]

Video: Kirk Said A Man On His Plane On The No-Fly List Was “A Real Security Breach On That Plane.” In an interview, Kirk said, “What happened, how did a guy on the official no fly zone list get there to fly from the nation’s capital right into the nation’s heartland? Just looks like a real security breach on that plane.” [WGN, 5/24/15]

Kirk Said His Flight To Chicago Had A Man On The No-Fly Zone List And Breached Normal Security Protocols. “U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s flight home from Washington D.C. was delayed by both a bomb threat and a man on the no-fly list breaching normal security protocols at Reagan National Airport, Kirk said Monday. The senator said the ‘unnecessary drama’ Sunday was handled calmly and professionally by American Airlines staff, but that he believed the incident clearly demonstrated room for improvement with airport security.” [Chicago Daily Herald, 5/25/15]

Kirk Said Man On No Fly List Was Taken Into Custody At O’Hare. “Kirk spoke about the flight evacuation Monday after Arlington Heights’ Memorial Day ceremony at Christian Liberty Academy. He said his original flight was evacuated for the bomb threat. He then found himself on another flight with a man on the no-fly list who was taken into custody.” [Chicago Daily Herald, 5/25/15]

KIRK WROTE A LETTER TO THE TSA ASKING HOW SOMEONE ON THE NO FLY LIST GOT ON HIS FLIGHT

Kirk Wrote Letter To TSA Asking How A Man On The No-Fly List Was Able To Board His Airplane. “In a pair of letters to TSA and Homeland Security, Kirk is sticking by his statement that someone apparently on the no-fly list was escorted off his plane from ‘three rows behind me,’ and asks for a full report.” [Crain’s Chicago Business, 6/2/15]

THE TRUTH IS NO MAN ON THE NO-FLY ZONE LIST WAS ON HIS FLIGHT

TSA Administrator: Man On Kirk’s Plane Was Not On The No Fly List. The acting TSA Administrator Francis X. Taylor responded to Kirk’s letter, “Additionally, you asked if the individual that was removed from Flight 2361 on May 24, 2015, was on TSA’s No Fly List, and if so, how the individual boarded that flight and traveled from Washington DC to Chicago. Individuals on the No Fly List are not permitted to fly. The passenger in question had ‘SSSS’ markings on his boarding pass, which means he was to receive enhanced screening but could still fly. He was escorted from the aircraft to ensure that he in fact had received such screenings at his point of origin.” [Letter to Sen. Kirk from TSA, 6/19/15]

  • TSA: Passenger Was Flagged For Enhanced Screening But Could Still Fly. “The passenger in question had a quad “SSSS” marking on his boarding pass. Any passenger who receives a boarding pass marked with a quad “SSSS” must receive enhanced screening by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) before entering the sterile area of an airport or boarding an aircraft.” [Letter to Sen. Kirk from TSA, 6/19/15]
  • TSA: Passenger Was Properly Screened At Departure Airport And Screening Was Validated Upon Arrival At O’Hare.“In this case, the passenger on you flight had been properly screening at his departure airport. Upon arrival at Chicago O’Hare, in order to validate that he had been properly screen, TSA personnel responded to the gate, inspected the passenger’s boarding pass, and confirmed that he had received enhanced screening. The passenger was then escorted to an area of the terminal where he was allowed to proceed unescorted to the international terminal for his connecting flight. There was no law enforcement response to this situation.” [Letter to Sen. Kirk from TSA, 6/19/15]

TSA: People On No Fly List Cannot Be Issued A Boarding Pass. “Individuals identified by Secure Flight as being on the No Fly List are not permitted to board an airplane. Air carriers are prohibited from issuing a person on the No Fly List a boarding pass.” [Letter to Sen. Kirk from TSA, 6/19/15]

TSA: There Was No Law Enforcement Response To This Situation. [Letter to Sen. Kirk from TSA, 6/19/15]

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