Americans will soon be able to officially find out if they’re on the terrorist “no-fly list” and might even find out why according to a Justice Department announcement. The new recourse is the result of an ACLU lawsuit in Oregon, which found the previous system violated the constitution.
The lead defendant in the ACLU lawsuit was Ayman Latif, a disabled former U.S. Marine. He was placed on the government’s no-fly list despite his service and citizenship, and had no recourse to fight the government’s injunction. In fact, he could not even find out he was officially on the no-fly list.
The list left the marine stranded in Egypt for at least six months, missing an evaluation he needed to attend to receive disability benefits.
After the ACLU lawsuit, Latif received a one-time waiver to return to the United States according to MSN.
Although Latif’s case is extreme, hundreds of other Americans are also permanently grounded with no way to challenge the government’s terrorist label.
The Washington Post reported that are about 1.1 million people currently on the government’s terrorist watch list and more are added all the time (when the Inquisitr last reported in August last year the number was estimated at around 700,000). The government takes people from the terrorist watch list to decide who is too much of a threat to fly.
About 47,000 people have made it to the no-fly list, out of those, roughly 800 are American citizens.
Before the new ruling, someone could appeal their no-fly status with the Department of Homeland Security, but the government would not be required to even confirm or deny they were on the list.
The judge ruled that since the Department did not allow a satisfactory means of appealing the list, and since the placement on the list caused harm, it violated the right to due process.
The ACLU, which represented 13 people including Latif in the case, praised the government for finally revealing the information. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, they added that the government was still violating the law, since it provided no hearing for suspects to challenge their no-fly status.
“After years of fighting in court for complete secrecy and losing, it’s good that the government is finally now going to tell people of their status on the no-fly list. Unfortunately, we’ve found that the government’s new redress process falls far short of constitutional requirements because it denies our clients meaningful notice, evidence and a hearing.”
Now that some information will be provided, it will be interesting to see exactly what reasons can get someone put on the no-fly list.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]