Appeals court upholds secret criteria for no-fly list

Appeals court upholds secret criteria for no-fly list

A U.S. appeals court on Monday ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit over the secretive criteria it uses for its no-fly list.

In the Monday ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the government has already gone as far as legally required in explaining the placement of the four plaintiffs on the list.


The plaintiffs are all U.S. citizens without criminal records. They argued the government offered only vague reasons for their inclusion. The government said one man was listed due to “concerns” regarding a trip to Yemen in 2010, and another reportedly told the FBI he had "distributed speeches" from a now-dead terrorist, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The government has taken reasonable measures to ensure basic fairness to the plaintiffs, and followed procedures reasonably designed to protect against erroneous deprivation of the plaintiffs’ liberty,” Judge Raymond Fisher wrote in the court’s decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the four plaintiffs, blasted the decision, according to the Times.

“Our clients have been unable to visit family, pursue job opportunities or fulfill religious obligations for over nine years based on vague criteria, secret evidence and unreliable government predictions,” ACLU attorney Hina Shamsi said.

Fisher ruled the government gave each plaintiff “fair notice” that the allegations of their conduct would “raise suspicion” and that after examining the government’s full explanations, “an unclassified summary of the undisclosed reasons was not possible.”