Government fought to hide mistake that put student on no-fly list


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Buttle? Tuttle?

Oh dear.


One of the Homeland guys made a mistake, even admitted to it in court. It was an honest mistake easy to make back when all this stuff was starting out. But his superiors cost that woman 3.3 million in attorneys fees and costs (Even if it was done pro bono) in order to force them to fix it. We need something to change. People make mistakes it should not cost millions to get it fixed.


Civil suit now? Sounds reasonable. I’m thinking for about $60.8 Billion, the entire DHS budget.


This is bad; but I wonder how many people are actually at Guantanamo for the very same reason?


She is so going to get on a watch list for this.


I just read the judgement. It sounds like an ‘honest’ mistake by an FBI agent in 2004 “tick here if this person should not be put on the TSA no-fly list” propagated for a number of years. It’s also possible that there is a second reason why the student is denied a visa in 2009 and 2013 - e.g. that the USA suspects (rightly or wrongly) that she has a family member who is linked to terrorism - and they’re expecting her to apply for a waiver and to specifically disclaim that she has any link to terrorism when she next applies to enter the USA. The judgement records that the US government assesses that she poses no threat as a terrorist - so you might expect she’ll be allowed to enter the USA if she applies for a visa after 15th April 2014.

The lack of oversight is really troubling though - the judge makes the point that there are non-reviewable actions that can be taken by visa issuing authorities.

It sounds as though no-one in the system has enough information to make an informed judgement, nor enough confidence to overrule a database entry - once there is an entry in a database saying ‘terrorist’ there is no way to expunge that information, and the consular offices who issue visas trust the databases more than their own judgement.

The consular offices need to be trained to treat the terrorism databases as suspect by default, to assume it’s as likely that the database contains a false positive as accurate information. The GAO report in 2006 that found a sample of ~110 records contained 38% errors and the purge of 70,0000 records to less than 34,000 in 2007 should each indicate that the databases are unreliable and that their judgement is necessary and should have priority.


There is another, worse episode where a DHS employee put his own wife on the no-fly list to stop her returning to the US. The action was only discovered when the employee was up for promotion and a background check found that his wife was on the terrorist watch list.

No apologies made of course.

I keep a copy of the Abu Ghraib man photo with me to show to folk who are OK with NSA wiretaps.


Holy sh*t! That’s absurd. I trust the guy went to jail for abuse of office. Do you have a citation for that? We might as well just resurrect McCarthy and brand people reds again if they piss us off for some reason.

Edit: In between it’s valiant efforts to keep erstwhile innocent people out of America, the DHS managed to fail to detect that it was employing a wanted felon for almost 2 years on it’s own staff…


I agree. There was no real malice, and that this is what happens when the government is unaccountable. A simple clerical error becomes law of the land in a sense.


It is certainly fortunate that the agent made that mistake only once.


What have you done with his body?

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The fact that you can run up such costs is ridiculous in itself. How much work does a legal team have to put in to rack up that kind of bill?


There is plenty of malice in the cover-up and concealment.


it was a UK officer

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She could borrow from the RIAA’s playbook (if it’s not copyrighted) and sue for $200B, then settle for a much more reasonable $60B.

(edit) I really hope that someone - maybe a lot of someones - is/are held accountable to pay back the taxpayer $$$ wasted on this absurdity. Of course, I also hope for a winning Powerball ticket. I’m not holding my breath, in either case.


Yeah I was surprised that the judge didn’t a) order a review of every case touched by that one officer and b) order a complete review of the processes surrounding each government database. The judgement is a huge concession to the government, to the extent that it is presented as giving redress to one person who’s been adversely affected by the US Government’s open-loop no-oversight policies. The other 30,000 people affected deserve redress too - if the US Government has any sense it will revise it’s processes to be robust against the time when a judge with enough spine or humanity to order a complete review of the TSA no-fly list, the CLASS database, etc. shines the spotlight on them.

I suppose the argument is that the US constitution only guarentees equal protection under the law and the right to due process to foreigners when they are on US soil. (and to US citizens everywhere in the world). So there is no legal requirement for a fair or accountable and overseen system to operate when it issues visas in foreign countries or (dis)allows boarding onto planes headed to the USA.

The working hypothesis of the government should not be that because US citizens enjoy equal protection under the law and the right to due process, all foreigners are the polar opposite and must be treated like degenerate scum to allow employees of US immigration and law enforcement services to exercise their innate Kafkaesque tendencies against people who don’t enjoy the right to vote in the USA - which is the impression you’d get from a cursory acquaintance with the facts of this case.

I just did a quick google as the source you are citing is the Daily Heil; but other news outlets carried the same story so I guess it might be a rare case of the Daily Hate printing something resembling the truth :slight_smile:

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