House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on Wednesday blasted a federal court ruling that the government’s “no-fly list” procedures violated the Constitution, calling the decision a “recipe for disaster.”
“It makes no sense whatsoever," Rogers said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast.
Rogers said there was a heightened threat of terrorism, citing the violence in Iraq, where Sunni extremists from the al-Qaeda-inspired group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, now control large sections of the country. He warned that the group’s members had easy access to Western passports.
"So we have according to public reports, an organization trying to build bombs that circumvent security," he said. "They're working with another organization, according to public reports that in Syria that have expressed an interest in trying to show their chops by having an international terrorist attack. And now you just had a judge rule you can't put someone on a no-fly list. You tell me why I can't sleep at night.
The FBI places individuals on the list, which bars them from boarding a commercial flight, if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person is a known or suspected terrorist.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown said the FBI must come up with new procedures that strike a balance between individual due process rights and national security.
The ruling does not prevent the FBI from maintaining a no-fly list, it only requires that those on the list are informed before they are denied boarding and are given the opportunity to present evidence on their behalf.
Rogers said he hopes the ruling is appealed.
The FBI could either issue unclassified summaries explaining the reason each individual was included on the no-fly list or it could disclose the classified information to "properly cleared" lawyers, the judge ruled. Brown also said the FBI must allow the 13 people to submit evidence to clear their names.
She wrote that in some highly sensitive cases, the government could choose to not disclose secret information but must still describe the nature and relevance of the classified documents and national security concerns.
"Without proper notice and an opportunity to be heard, an individual could be doomed to indefinite placement on the No-Fly List," Brown wrote in her opinion.