Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Federal judge orders review of TSA secrecy about "No-Fly List"

After reviewing blanket claims by the USA Transportation Security Administration, Department of Justice, and FBI that information concerning the so-called “‘no-fly’and other transportation watch lists” is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a federal judge in San Francsico ruled today that “The Court’s preliminary review of the voluminous material demonstrates that in many instances the government has not come close to meeting its burden [of proof of exemption], and, in some instances, has made frivolous claims of exemption.”

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer ordered the government defendants in the lawsuit, Rebecca Gordon et al., v. FBI et al. , to “review all withheld material and reconsider whether it is exempt from disclosure, keeping in mind that it is defendants’ burden to prove that an exemption applies and that exemptions are to be construed narrowly… Defendants shall be careful to specify which exemption is being applied to particular information on any given document…. That material which is not exempt shall be promptly disclosed to plaintiffs in response to their FOIA request.”

The FOIA lawsuit was brought by the ACLU of Northern California on behalf of two anti-war activists who told they were on an air travel watch list. A separate lawsuit challenging the no-fly list itself was filed by the ACLU in April 2004; no hearing has yet been scheduled in that case.

I received a copy of today’s court order by e-mail. The ACLU says they expect to post it by tomorrow morning along with the other court documents, press statements, FOIA requests and respenses, and other background information on the case. I’ll add a link as soon as today’s court order is posted online.

Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 15 June 2004, 14:54 ( 2:54 PM)
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