Judge rejects secret "no-fly" evidence barring ex-Stanford student from returning to US

The SF Chronicle reports that a federal judge in San Francisco has "indignantly rejected" the Obama administration's attempt to use secret evidence to thwart the efforts of a former Stanford student to understand why she's apparently on a secret "no-fly" list. The government must stop its "persistent and stubborn refusal" to follow the law, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said this week.

Rahinah Ibrahim's name on the confidential no-fly list has barred her and one of her four children from returning to the United States for nearly eight years. She was a Stanford graduate student in January 2005 when she was first stopped at San Francisco International Airport and prevented from boarding a flight to her native Malaysia.

She was arrested and jailed briefly by San Francisco police but was allowed to take the flight the next day, with her 14-year-old daughter. When Ibrahim tried to return two months later, however, she was again stopped and told she was subject to arrest. The U.S. Consulate later said her student visa had been revoked under a terrorism law.

Secret no-fly evidence rejected by judge.

(SF Gate via @milesobrien)

26

  1. I have to ask… are there really people so dangerous that they cannot fly no matter how well they’re searched? Does such a unicorn exist? Are we trying to keep Bane from flying?

    1. You aren’t mentioning the second part: Too dangerous to be allowed to fly no matter the security precautions, but not quite dangerous enough for actual charges to be brought against them. Also, in this case? Too dangerous to fly. Except on Tuesdays.

    2. Hey, for all you know she’s been genetically engineered to lactate two different substances that form a powerful explosive when mixed.  You can’t be too careful.

  2. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Privacy_Act_of_1974

    “The Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, Public Law No. 93-579, (Dec. 31, 1974) establishes a Code of Fair Information Practice that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by Federal agencies. A system of records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifier assigned to the individual. The Privacy Act requires that agencies give the public notice of their systems of records by publication in the Federal Register. The Privacy Act prohibits the disclosure of information from a system of records absent the written consent of the subject individual, unless the disclosure is pursuant to one of twelve statutory exceptions. The Act also provides individuals with a means by which to seek access to and amendment of their records, and sets forth various agency record-keeping requirements.”

    “The Privacy Act states in part: No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains…”

    Concerning the “No-Do-This Lists”, is, “The Privacy Act also states: Each agency that maintains a system of records shall—

       1. upon request by any individual … permit him … to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him …
       2. permit the individual to request amendment of a record pertaining to him …”

    Both of those conditions are, at best, notoriously hard for a US citizen to achieve with the No-Fly List.

      1. Here ya go, the important part:

        Concerning the “No-Do-This Lists”, is, “The Privacy Act also states: Each agency that maintains a system of records shall—

           1. upon request by any individual … permit him … to review the record and have a copy made of all or any portion thereof in a form comprehensible to him …
           2. permit the individual to request amendment of a record pertaining to him …”

        Both of those conditions are, at best, notoriously hard for a US citizen to achieve with the No-Fly List.

  3. Hey, she’s a muslim, so what’s the problem?
    I’m not an American, but I’m pretty sure (given the education given to me by Hollywood), that ‘Murica is thoroughly Christian. 
    After all, it’s pretty self-explanatory that religious freedom applies only to Christians, so quit complaining, you leftist f****t commie liberal chipmunks!

    Greetings from Sweden.

  4. Great. This judge wants us to make do with only Single-Secret Probation? We’ll probably fall for it, too, being the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

  5. Wow–our great and glorious “Constitutional law professor” president gets schooled yet again on what the Constitution really means.  

  6. The whole concept of no-fly lists is opposite to any common-sense approach to actually fighting an undercover enemy. 

    If you are a Die-Satan-American-Die jihadist, working undercover to blow shit up, the minute you find out you’re on a no-fly list and you’re eventually let go (which is what happens pretty much all the time), you now know that your cover is blown, you are being watched, and you will take countermeasures; even better, if let free to “go home”, you can go back to a different role (bringing with you your acquired knowledge of the theatre) or just try again.

    A competent counter-terror effort would keep it quiet, allow him on the plane without a second thought (unless, of course, you knew this will be THE flight to Paradise, so to speak) and just keep watching the dude/dudette until he brings you to his friends and/or the big fish. 

    When the Allies decrypted Enigma, they didn’t run around stopping Axis forces from performing training exercises; they kept it quiet and used the tactical advantage during major ops only — the longest Enigma was thought to be safe, the longest they could exert that advantage. Drug-busts are built on months or years of work, during which criminals are left free to commit small-time crimes in order to, eventually, prevent big-time ones — the longest a mole can be seen as trusted in an organization, the more he will know about major operations that need intervention.

    I don’t see how US intelligence agencies can be happy with the No-Fly list system, unless you consider it an extreme act of political ass-covering.

      1. The no fly lists have nothing to do with security screening.  People on the lists are considered enemies of the state and if and when martial law is declared they will be arrested and then quietly executed.

    1. We’ve got a bit of confirmation bias here. The ones who are on the no-fly list and have even a minor reason to be will either not appeal or not get any media coverage of the sort we’ll see.

      On the other hand, you’ll note the complete lack of planes falling down from the sky due to bombs onboard. Homeland Security can contantly point to that and go “see? See? It’s working!”

      Besides, the miniature shitstorms we’ve been seeing over people who got barred from flying with no good reason are *nothing* compared to what we’d see in the media if someone got taken off the list and then went on to blow up a plane. For a politician it would be career-ending, so here we are, stuck with the list.

  7. It is not that we are Christians and they are Muslims that they have done these terrible things.  It is because we, as Westerners (specifically Western Governments) have crapped on them from on high for long enough they got tired of having to wear a raincoat all the time.

  8. I’ll point out that the late Senator Edward Kennedy found himself on the no-fly list and even he could not ascertain why or how nor was there any way or person to contact for him to get his name off of it.  It just magically was removed.

Comments are closed.