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CAIR Wins Lawsuit Against US Terror Watchlist

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A TSA agent at the Miami International Airport (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A TSA agent at the Miami International Airport (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A US district court judge ruled that the constitutional rights of people placed on the US terror watchlist are being violated.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for close to two dozen Muslim citizens who were on the list.

However, the judge, Anthony Trenga, asked for more information from the lawyers before ruling on what should be done about it.

The issue has long been the subject of lawsuits due to the fact that the list not only regularly mistakenly puts non-terror suspects on it, but is shared with various government agencies and foreign governments.

Moreover, after years of denial, the government recently acknowledged that the list is even shared with more than 1,400 private entities connected to the criminal justice system, including police forces at private universities, hospital security staff and private correctional facilities.

To date, it remains unknown how the private sector uses the US terror watchlist and what consequences a person who is on the list faces in the private sector.

Hundreds of thousands of names are added to the list every year with names regularly subtracted as well. The “no-fly” list is a subsection of the list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Database.

Those on the US terror watchlist claim they are handcuffed at border crossings and subjected to invasive searches at airports.

A person can be put on the list not only if he or she fits the definition of a “known terrorist” but also meets the less definitive standard of “suspected terrorist.”

However, due to the fact that many people are put on the list in error (particularly because innocent conduct can be misinterpreted, said the judge), the judge ruled that these travel difficulties are significant and that those encountering them have a constitutional right to due process.

Lawyers for the FBI argued the travel difficulties were a necessary consequence to prevent terror.

In July 2019, the House adopted a proposal by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar forcing the Trump administration to disclose details about how it shares the US terror watchlist with foreign countries.

 

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Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) – Profile

 

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