Appeals court holds the FBI is allowed to kidnap and torture Americans outside US borders

The DC Appeals Court has just ruled against Amir Meshal, a US citizen who was arrested in Kenya by a joint US-Kenyan-Ethiopian law enforcement operation, held for months, tortured with FBI agents present and threatened with his secret murder, then released without any charges.

The court held that because the Bivens doctrine (which addresses unlawful searches and seizures that occur during criminal investigations) doesn't cover extraterritorial abuse, Meshal has no recourse against the FBI and the DoJ, unless Congress makes a new law saying that the Fourth and Fifth Amendment apply outside of the USA.

But the decision stands. And for the DOJ, it means its agencies will have a lot of leeway in the handling of US citizens it detains in other countries. Americans' rights are effectively nullified if the detainment is declared to be in the interest of national security. The majority opinion -- while dismissing Meshal's case -- states its sympathy for his situation and agrees that US citizenship has "inherent value." Unfortunately, its conclusion here appends a national security asterisk to that assertion, furthering the notion that civil liberties should nearly always grant the right of way to the War on Terror.

Court: Your Fourth And Fifth Amendment Rights No Longer Exist If You Leave The Country
[Tim Cushing/Techdirt]