The 9th Circuit ruled yesterday that individuals who finds themselves on a government no-fly or watch list can have their case against the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), the governmental agency responsible for putting them on the list, heard by a federal District Court. While the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) compels airlines to match their flight manifests against the list in their search for “bad people,” it is the TSC (a joint venture among the FBI, CIA, and departments of State and Homeland Security) that actually compiles the lists. This is the first time any court will hear such a case.
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. A phone call was fielded by a private contractor who instructed that she be arrested. 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.
Ibrahim’s lawsuit against the TSA, claiming violations of her constitutional rights, is in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals due to jurisdictional and venue rules applicable for challenges to TSA orders. Her lawsuit against the TSC for putting her on the list, the government contractor for ordering her arrest, and the SFPD for arresting her, now can go forward in the District Court in San Francisco.
Click here for more information on earlier proceedings in the Ibrahim case.