Earlier today, the ACLU and 10 plaintiffs sued the government over the way people are placed on the no-fly list.
he suit names Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and Timothy J. Healy, the director of the Terrorist Screening Center as defendants.
It contends "The Constitution does not permit such a fundamental deprivation of rights to be carried out under a veil of secrecy and in the absence of even rudimentary process."
It goes on to say "...no government official or agency has offered any explanation for Plaintiff's apparent placement on the No Fly List or any other watch list. Nor has any government official or agency offered any of the Plaintiffs any meaningful opportunity to contest his or her placement on such a list."
About time this happened. There is something fundamentally wrong when Ted Kennedy and a little boy can get ensnared on this list. I'm actually surprised it took this long for a suit to be filed.
One of the plaintiffs is retired Air Force officer Steven Washburn. He was marooned in Ireland for three months because he somehow landed on the no-fly list. The first time he found out about it was when he tried to board a plane from Dublin to the States.
"When we went to board the plane they told me 'I'm sorry, we can't let you get on the plane. You're on the U.S. no-fly terrorist watch list,'" said Washburn. "That was the moment I found out for the first time I was on the no fly list."
He later contacted the FBI who told him they had no concerns about him and even suggested Washburn get around the no fly list by flying to Mexico then walking across the border, he said.
When Washburn first tried to take that advice, the plane was briefly rerouted to London because it briefly passed over American airspace. He finally made it back to the States last month after going through Germany, Peru and Mexico.
To my mind, this is a textbook case of what happens when you rush into passing a needed measure--you end up with bad law.