Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why is she on the no-fly list?

Wow -- someone has finally won a court order that she should be able to find out why she was put on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list.

Critics of the government's secret no-fly list scored a potentially important victory Monday when a federal appeals court ruled that would-be passengers can ask a judge and jury to decide whether their inclusion on the list violates their rights. ...

Monday's ruling involves Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford doctoral student in architecture who was stopped at a United Airlines counter in San Francisco in January 2005 when an employee spotted her name on the no-fly list, the court said. A phone call to police was relayed to the TSA, which told officers to detain Ibrahim and stop her from flying. She was handcuffed in front of her 14-year-old daughter, held in custody for two hours and then released by orders of the FBI.

San Francisco Chronicle,
August 19, 2008

What happened to Ibrahim is a carbon copy of what happened to yours truly in August, 2002 at San Francisco Airport, except we didn't get the handcuffs. Guess that was because we are white.

Back in 2005, a judge of the Ninth Circuit declined to order the government to tell us why we were on the list, but apparently the documented escalation of the list to one million names and its chronic errors have moved judges to dig deeper. I imagine the government will appeal.

The TSA may have some reason to keep its determinations secret to preserve "security." It undoubtedly needs to keep its procedures secret to hide its incompetence.

Good luck to Ms. Ibrahim as her case moves forward.

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