Federal “no-fly” lists challenged in court

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Two San Francisco peace activists have filed suit over “no-fly” lists that have snagged thousands of air travelers nationwide, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The suit asks to require the Bush administration to disclose how many names are on the lists, how names are added and removed and how often they have been used to identify the wrong person. The American Civil Liberties Union said it sought the same information last December under the Freedom of Information Act, but the FBI replied that it had no such documents and the Transportation Security Administration never replied.

The case was filed by Rebecca Gordon and Jan Adams, who help publish the anti-war newspaper War Times. They were detained briefly at San Francisco International Airport last August when their names showed up on a no-fly list at the American Trans Air counter. They were allowed to board their flight to Boston when officers didn’t find their names on an “FBI list,” according to police reports, but their bags were subjected to additional searches.

The government has provided little information about the data it has supplied to airlines since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Heather Rosenker, spokeswoman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, denied that anyone was on the government “watch lists” because of political affiliation or beliefs. She acknowledged technical problems with computer links between airline databases and two lists compiled by her agency: the “no-fly” list of suspected terrorists and a list of “selectees,” deemed less of a threat, who are subjected to added searches of their persons or luggage.

Link: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/04/23/MN259316.DTL

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