ACLU National Security Project: Over the last three years, the FBI has dramatically expanded its No-Fly List of suspected terrorists, including blacklisting innocent Americans who present no threat to security.
The Americans we represent in Latif v. Holder, the ACLU’s challenge to the government’s No-Fly List procedures, provide a prime example. They were each denied boarding on planes, deprived of their right to travel, and smeared as suspected terrorists. Yet the government continues to deny them any after-the-fact explanation for their blacklisting or any meaningful chance to clear their names.
The FBI’s violation of these Americans’ due process rights is, in and of itself, abusive and unlawful. After all, preventing people from correcting the errors that led to their inclusion on a blacklist does not make our skies any safer, but it does harm constitutionally protected rights to travel and reputation — as a federal court recently recognized. And a closer look into the experiences of several ACLU clients shows another, even darker side to the No-Fly List.
FBI agents have tried to use the No-Fly List as a draconian tool to coerce Americans into spying on their communities.
FBI agents put this pressure on ACLU clients Abe Mashal, a Marine veteran; Amir Meshal; and Nagib Ali Ghaleb. Each of these Americans spoke to FBI agents to learn why they were suddenly banned from flying and to clear up the errors that led to that decision. Instead of providing that explanation or opportunity, FBI agents offered to help them get off the No-Fly List — but only in exchange for serving as informants in their communities.Our clients refused.
The ACLU’s report, Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority, explains what happened to Nagib Ali Ghaleb. [Continue reading…]