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US Government Fights To Not Explain No-Fly List Selection Process

Soulskill posted about two weeks ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Government 248

An anonymous reader writes: On August 6, U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga ordered the federal government to "explain why the government places U.S. citizens who haven't been convicted of any violent crimes on its no-fly database." Unsurprisingly, the federal government objected to the order, once more claiming that to divulge their no-fly list criteria would expose state secrets and thus pose a national security threat. When the judge said he would read the material privately, the government insisted that reading the material "would not assist the Court in deciding the pending Motion to Dismiss (PDF) because it is not an appropriate means to test the scope of the assertion of the State Secrets privilege." The federal government has until September 7 to comply with the judge's order unless the judge is swayed by the government's objection.

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It'd be nice... (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47783779)

If somehow we could avoid letting the worst ideas just kinda slide.

There's not a lick of evidence that no-fly has helped anyone, but we need to insist its policies not face even the slightest judicial review. Asshole libertarians tend identify me as an authoritarian because I state the obvious vis a vis their fundamental beliefs, but this kind of deprivation without due process is still completely nuts.

Re:It'd be nice... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783855)

But, but , but Mr. Obama is Mr. Transparency.

He said so.

Re:It'd be nice... (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47783871)

Which, subjectively, hasn't been entirely untrue. Better than before on major metrics isn't the same as fixed. In this case, nowhere near the same.

There needs to be a line between "beyond criticism" and "absolutely the worst ever at all times".

Re:It'd be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783979)

Pfft. Objectively, Obama administration has been shown to be less transparent than Cheney's, er, Bush Jr.'s

Re:It'd be nice... (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784077)

Balogna. The dullards you're doubtlessly citing use the "increase in rejected FOIA requests" metric that handily sweeps under the rug the proportionally greater increase in answered FOIA requests, because honesty isn't part of the game plan.

Re:It'd be nice... (3, Informative)

butchersong (1222796) | about two weeks ago | (#47784429)

Well one metric might be number of press conferences. This is just in all presidents first term. I believe the impression is that he's having even fewer second term but I don't see anything breaking that down. I'm sure there are a lot of other inputs that could be included as well to test this. Subjectively.. he does seem less open and conversational in these as well compared to past presidents.

President Obama - 79

President George W. Bush - 89

President Bill Clinton - 133

President George H. W. Bush - 143

President Reagan - 27

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu... [ucsb.edu]

Re:It'd be nice... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784463)

This is a metric I had not seen nor considered before. I suppose due consideration is called for.

Re:It'd be nice... (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about two weeks ago | (#47784547)

It might be tough to measure. Obama certainly tweets more than past presidents but the answer to why is obvioius with the internet and maturity of social media. He also has had more sit down interviews apparently but both of these are mediums he controls completely with the questions known beforehand. I prefer the potentially adversarial relationship with the white house press corps to these but I could see from his perspective why he'd prefer to simply 'broadcast' his message without interference.

Re:It'd be nice... (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | about two weeks ago | (#47784563)

I saw, I considered, I LOL'd.

Re:It'd be nice... (4, Insightful)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about two weeks ago | (#47784789)

Press conferences are not about openness. Traditionally, press conferences are about high level dissemination of propaganda and dysinformation. Like LBJ and the Vietnam Gulf of Tonkin incident; Nixon and the Parot Beak; Bush and Iraq's WMD; and so on.

Re:It'd be nice... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784707)

Balogna. The dullards you're doubtlessly citing use the "increase in rejected FOIA requests" metric that handily sweeps under the rug the proportionally greater increase in answered FOIA requests, because honesty isn't part of the game plan.

Why don't you file a FOIA request for Lois Lerner's emails?

Why don't you tell us why the Attorney General has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents?

Most. Transparent. Administration. Ever.

Really? You believe that, I've got a great bridge to sell you.

Re:It'd be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783925)

Are you questioning the word of the Glorious Leader? Don't make us send you to the re-education camp.

- Jackboot Government Thug

Re:It'd be nice... (5, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about two weeks ago | (#47784629)

But, but , but Mr. Obama is Mr. Transparency.

He said so.

One of the things President Obama has done for this country is to show us that whether the Republicans or Democrats are in office, we get a lot of the same policies. Not identical, but most of the foreign policy, national security, surveillance and domestic security policies are the same between the parties. Some choice!

Re:It'd be nice... (5, Insightful)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about two weeks ago | (#47784023)


Dear sir,

You are quite wrong. There is a mountain of evidence that so called "no-fly" lists have prevent unspeakable acts of terrorism and violence.

It is however important to note that to divulge the details of said evidence will expose state secret and thus constitute a threat to national security.

To explain; in order to protect you, the national citizen we have to keep this secret from you as telling you how we do things can put you at risk. Given that you can now clearly see how you yourself put your own well-being at risk your personal freedoms should in fact be revoked for your protection.

A secret court that we cannot tell you about already ruled in our favor. All your rights are belong to us.

Sincerely,

Your democratically elected and chosen government.

Re:It'd be nice... (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about two weeks ago | (#47784653)

There is a mountain of evidence that so called "no-fly" lists have prevent unspeakable acts of terrorism and violence.

Bullshit. Show me even one case of a would-be attacker getting arrested because his name came up when he showed up at an airport.

Re:It'd be nice... (4, Funny)

Sun (104778) | about two weeks ago | (#47784679)

Whoosh.

Re:It'd be nice... (4, Insightful)

Cardoor (3488091) | about two weeks ago | (#47784803)

my only problem with this, is that i'm 99% sure that a great number of people will read the first 2 lines, and stop there - taking comfort in their ignorance of the sarcasm.

I'm confused....it was a late night last night, .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784169)

There's not a lick of evidence that no-fly has helped anyone, but we need to insist its policies not face even the slightest judicial review.

Then

....but this kind of deprivation without due process is still completely nuts.

But due process requires judicial review.

If one is being targeted by the State, they have a right to know why. And this horseshit of innocents being targeted is unacceptable in a free society.

But, I no longer call the USA a free society. We are a police state.

Re:I'm confused....it was a late night last night, (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784223)

Oh, sorry, that first sentence was written from the perspective of the TSA, in order to satirize. I could see how you might confuse that as my own opinion. Tonal slip-up. Sorry.

Re:It'd be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784639)

Asshole libertarians

Fuck you.

Re:It'd be nice... (4, Interesting)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about two weeks ago | (#47784861)

At the very least, there needs to be a place on the TSA website where a person can check to see whether he is on the list. Now that every travel arrangement is non-refundable, we need to know this before we get to the departing airport.

maybe we'll finally get a judge with guts (1)

swschrad (312009) | about two weeks ago | (#47784877)

logical response from the bench would be to enjoin the no-fly list.

that means shit-can it, for folks who haven't hung around the courthouse steps

Better idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783787)

End the no-fly list.

Even Better idea... (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about two weeks ago | (#47784659)

End every punishment doled out by the government without a trial by jury.

-jcr

Re: Even Better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784847)

Also end US violation of the basic human rights of non-citizens... Why not start with things that actually matter first?

Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Peter L. Berghold (3639725) | about two weeks ago | (#47783799)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret. Some complain our government doesn't do enough to protect us. Others see the boogeyman behind everything the government does. Criteria for no-fly list? I imagine there is an element of secrecy there and it would largely depend on intelligence generated through a number of sources. Are there mistakes made? Of course. Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783833)

I slept with a TSA agent's slutty wife, that's why

Re: Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784063)

Pics or it didn't happen.

Re: Loose Lips Sinik Ships (3, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about two weeks ago | (#47784263)

We really don't want to see any pics of any loose lips, thank you very much!

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47783849)

Yeah, which is why the judge is asking to be allowed to review the material for constitutionality in private.

If a US judge(reminder, appointed for life) wanted to hurt our nation, they'd have better tools at their disposal than leaking some bureaucratic legalese.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about two weeks ago | (#47784005)

Yeah, which is why the judge is asking to be allowed to review the material for constitutionality in private.

Is there any possible way that a 'No Fly List' could be constitutional?

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784091)

I'm sad to report that my opinion on the matter(no) doesn't matter nearly as much as a federal judge's, as far as actionability is concerned.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about two weeks ago | (#47784207)

Is there any possible way that a 'No Fly List' could be constitutional?

Do American citizens have a constitutional right to fly?

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (4, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about two weeks ago | (#47784247)

yes. sort of.

first, there is the right to freely travel inside your country.

second, there is the implied right to earn an income. today, its getting to the point where travel via air is required by many jobs.

third, there is nothing in the C to allow denying you the right to travel.

this has never been about C stuff; but that does not stop the 'culture of fear' politicians who have found a new friend in keeping people under their control.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784255)

Sort of, yes.

No person shall [...] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

In this case, freedom to travel could be considered a relatively benign liberty (undeniably granted freely to the majority of the population, thus its denial requires due process).

This is one of those cases where the 5th plays nicely with the (non-bill of rights) protection against bills of attainder that prevent the government from targeting individuals for punishment.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784739)

Wrong question. For a consitutional issue, the question is whether the government has been permitted (by the consitution) the power to restrict people from flying, and if so, under what conditions and by what process. The US constitution is not about granting rights or even listing rights (because they are theoretically infinite). It is about listing the very finite set of powers that the governmnet has, with some high-level advice about how to go about exercising those powers. There was substantial discussion among the "founding persons" about creating a bill of rights and including them in the constitution, because of the fear that that list would be understood to be "the list" and anything not on the list wouldn't be a right.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784775)

In asking your question "Do American citizens have a constitutional right" you should have just stopped right there.
 
CAPTCHA: medals

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about two weeks ago | (#47784219)

Yeah, which is why the judge is asking to be allowed to review the material for constitutionality in private.

Is there any possible way that a 'No Fly List' could be constitutional?

Absent conviction of a crime, or wartime evidence of danger or collusion, ???

Taking the issues wihout hyperventillation:
- Yes, releasing thr rules would allow terrorists to avoid triggers and game the system.
- A judge may not be the best judge of applicability of state secrets, but the secret makers are a far worse self-judge. Dragging this in front of a nominally public court once in awhile is a core check and balance. It is the only kind of thing to do this.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about two weeks ago | (#47784269)

It occurs to me terrorists could probe the system by attempting flights to determine the extent of monitoring of their activities and size of their circles. In this case, it is against government interest to ban them all.

Furthermore an overshooting to far too many people would partially mask this and engender a faix confidence in terrorists that the government was throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Hmmm, wheels within wheels and counter-strategies.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about two weeks ago | (#47784281)

Yes. You merely "interpret" it as suggestions that were written by well meaning old men who didn't really understand what it was that they were trying to say.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

eeyore (78059) | about two weeks ago | (#47783921)

> Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best. A flawed vessel is even more prone than a sound one to being sunk. Surely all good citizens should allow the government to protect itself from embarrassment when one of its imperfect vessels stuffs up? -- E

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783935)

So any US citizen that is on the no-fly list by mistake should have no recourse to get off of it? They should be denied due process to rectify an injustice perpetrated by the government? Tell me, how does boot taste?

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about two weeks ago | (#47784461)

Tell me, how does boot taste?

Like freedom, of course. What are you, new here?

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783955)

Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best

Which is why public accountability is needed. To the rest of your nonsense, there is decades of history of the government abusing classification to hide misdeeds. We went down this path before during the 50s, 60s and 70s and it was found that massive corruption was hiding behind the scenes.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

some old guy (674482) | about two weeks ago | (#47783957)

Are there mistakes made? Of course. Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best.

Which is exactly why we have that dusty old Constitution thingy, an artifact the Security State not just ignores but openly flaunts.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (5, Informative)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about two weeks ago | (#47783969)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret. Some complain our government doesn't do enough to protect us. Others see the boogeyman behind everything the government does. Criteria for no-fly list? I imagine there is an element of secrecy there and it would largely depend on intelligence generated through a number of sources. Are there mistakes made? Of course. Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best.

In a republic, the people must be able to hold their representatives accountable and ensure they are working in the country's best interests and obeying the law. Secret policies like the one governing the members of the no-fly list work against people wanting to know what their government is doing and why. It is not a matter of whether we are protected or not. It is a matter of transparency in a government by, of and for the people. That's not to say that the policy governing the no-fly list should be published in the New York Times. But if the government can hide behind the state secrets privilege to bar people from finding out why they are on the list and how they might get off it, they are denying those people their right to redress of grievances.

It is true that some things must be kept secret. But part of the issue here is that in order to be trusted with secrets, you must be that; trusted. Members of the intelligence and national security apparatus have been found lying to Congress, the judiciary and the public on numerous occasions. When they say we must simply trust them that they are doing the right thing, any thinking person should be skeptical. They have blown their credibility and have lost the trust of the people they are supposed to be protecting. That's not a good thing.

It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence. In the very first case that they used that argument, they used it to cover something up (lax maintenance that led to the downing of an aircraft). So it has been a dubious privilege from the start. Given their track record since, there is no reason to trust that the government is being honest in their invoking the privilege now. They may indeed be on the up-and-up. But that needs to be independently verified, and that should be the job of the court.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (3, Informative)

twdorris (29395) | about two weeks ago | (#47784469)

It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence.

That original claim to privilege was retested in the early 2000s once those "secret" documents had been declassified and *still* the court found that the government had *not* abused its state secrets privilege. It may be your opinion that the government tried to hide negligence, but that's not the accepted opinion and not the one reached by many trained scholars (judges, lawyers) actually practicing in the field on a daily basis. So perhaps you should remove the tin foil hat covering your eyes every once in a while and consider that there may be more to some things than you might first think.

Now, that said, I'm no big government promoter. Far from it. You can read some of my prior comments for examples. What I don't want are for people to discredit the entire concept of major government reform by making such broad statements without addressing the (potentially legitimate) counter arguments. Taken in context, those original claims to state secret privileges seem relevant to me in this particular case.

Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783975)

The need for some degree of secrecy is rarely contested.

This, however, is a case where a group of people are being punished by the government for no known reason. The list is so big, and is growing so fast that it's almost impossible for it to not be primarily composed of individuals who do not, in fact, pose any risk. It's also rather difficult to imagine that, given the numbers involved, any significant degree of review is being applied to the names added to the list.

It looks as though they just find folks who fit some arbitrary profile, and throw 'em onto the list without any further thought.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783999)

for the safety of corrupt and decadent, murderous thugs that are your leaders, you mean. Secrets are the last refuge of the incompetent

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784031)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret.

Fuck you.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about two weeks ago | (#47784097)

You assume it actually works. There's no evidence it's actually stopped any terrorist attack. Further, even if it did, it's still on dubious legal grounds - the government is effectively harming people by restricting their ability to travel, and is doing so without any accountability. No independent judge, no trial, no legal representation, not even the most basic right to see the evidence against them. It's the type of unaccountable secret legal process you'd expect to see in North Korea - given a bit of a PR makeover and introduced to the US.

Extraordinary rendition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784619)

This article shows the "no fly" list being used to divert an international flight by abuse of airspace into Canada for fuel limits, arrest an onboard passenger in Canada for no visa, and then divert him into the US for arrest. Frightening no fly list.
papersplease.org/wp/2010/06/07/another-paris-mexico-flight-barred-from-us-airspace/

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784161)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret. Some complain our government doesn't do enough to protect us. Others see the boogeyman behind everything the government does. Criteria for no-fly list? I imagine there is an element of secrecy there and it would largely depend on intelligence generated through a number of sources. Are there mistakes made? Of course. Unfortunately the process is administered by human beings who are flawed vessels at best.

Sooo, your point is?

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about two weeks ago | (#47784179)

Unfortunately, while not false (in the most obvious case, informants have a way of winding up dead if you are too obvious about their existence); your justification leaves two major issues unaddressed:

1. The government is not refusing to divulge the specific reasons and evidence that led to a particular person being added to the list(which quite plausibly might reveal specific informants, bugged computers, etc. and would likely merit an in camera review or something). They are refusing to divulge the general criteria and possible methods by which anyone could end up on the list. It's the difference between "Tell me exactly who ratted out Big Vinnie" and "What constitutes 'Racketeering' for the purposes of the US criminal code". One is a potential operational risk. The other is 'rule of law'.

2. The 'no fly list' is a bullshit twilight category without obvious protective value. Apparently there are people (and lots of them) so dangerous that they cannot be allowed on a passenger aircraft, even with some sort of enhanced screening; but so safe that apparently no other measures need be taken. It's a combination of state harassment(not being able to fly is a pretty big deal if you travel much) and absurd magical thinking. Too dangerous to fly; but safe enough to do basically anything else? Seriously? Why would that category even exist? Hijacking an airplane with a pointy object shouldn't work anymore(if we finished upgrading the doors), and anyone who can get bombs, firearms, or toxins doesn't need a plane to cause trouble.

The refusal to even outline how you fall into such a category, or why such a category exists, is a profound mockery of the notion of rule of law. No, not every specific detail of how every piece of evidence is gathered can be safely revealed; but that isn't the story here.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about two weeks ago | (#47784253)

No Fly List 1, Rule 1: If your name was ever Cat Stevens [wikipedia.org] , even for a moment, you're on the list. There are no exceptions!

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784879)

I have a cat named Steven. He also is not allowed to fly.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about two weeks ago | (#47784303)

For the safety of the country there are certain things that need to remain secret.

So as Americans, we're all relying on what amounts to security through obscurity? That's reassuring...

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

torsmo (1301691) | about two weeks ago | (#47784413)

Every bloody thing is a security threat these days, requiring it to be tackled secretly. Our very existence seems to be a national security threat.

Re:Loose Lips Sinik Ships (1)

butchersong (1222796) | about two weeks ago | (#47784617)

I agree with this generally. I know some folks that work in the military doing wetworks type stuff and they're always being deployed and doing things I never hear about in the news (they never tell what or where but there is a LOT of crap going down day to day we don't hear about) -not when it comes to the no-fly list though. The judges request is reasonable. If we can't trust our judges at least as much as we trust the unelected folks administering the lists then we're in trouble.

Loose Lips Sinik Ships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784663)

... I imagine there is an element of secrecy there and it would largely depend on intelligence generated through a number of sources....

No kidding. The primary source being all the illegal mass surveillance the government conducts. I have been a software engineer for 15 years specializing in applied artificial intelligence and take my word for it - they are listening to every conversation, every email, every chat message and "signals intelligence" from these illegal wire-taps build a "model" of *each and every one of you based on what you say and what WORDS or phrases YOU UTTER or WRITE*. The software then decides if you are over a threshold and BOOM - no fly list.

BTW - it wont be long before the mass surveillance state (which is laughably "free") starts to carefully and surreptitiously use this technology to oppress those who might disagree with the elites.

The freedom we "enjoy" is not real - it is an illusion.

BULLSHIT to the idiot red-necks who use that false argument that "this surveillance (and no-fly lists and the like) are keeping us safe". I don't believe it for a second. That is just part of the rhetoric to keep us "just afraid enough" to no protest our rights being violated. Any idea how many Americans were killed by terrorism in the last ten years? Compare that to Americans killed by heart disease or alcholhol poisoning or plain old street violence. Do the math yourself. If you not too red-necky to operate the interwebs and a calculator.

Fuck America.

Consequences (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783813)

The federal government has until September 7 to comply with the judge's order

Or else!

Re:Consequences (1)

hymie! (95907) | about two weeks ago | (#47784513)

Or else they'll get a new deadline.

No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all theater (5, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about two weeks ago | (#47783815)

It's time to start disassembling this expensive fraud. Millions of travelers are inconvenienced by these fraudulent necessities that have been installed since the Patriot Act was passed. That Act will go down in American history as the single, most damaging, threat to liberty in this country. Billions spent, law abiding people treated like criminals without due process. It truly makes me ashamed and angry at DC and the retards that reside there.

Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783837)

TSA is a make-work program for blacks. Keeps them off the street and out of trouble. From a national security perspective, it's working!

Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783991)

TSA is a make-work program for blacks. Keeps them off the street and out of trouble. From a national security perspective, it's working!

Huh. I thought that was the purpose of the not remotely hidden racism in the legal system.

I will agree with the 'make-work' program... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784505)

But it's DECIDEDLY not just for blacks. Leaving out of SFO two different times in the past 5 years it was primarily whites, asians, and hispanics (there might've been a black guy in the mix, but certainly not representative of an all black work program). On the *OTHER* hand, going through Atlanta, it was like 90 percent black TSA, and probably 50-75 for all the other jobs in the area (Although contrary to the negative opinion most people hold regarding 'those poor dirty blacks', *EVERY* one in Atlanta was professional, courteous, and helpful. Be they panhandlers, Guitar Center employees, Walmart employees, TSA employees/officials, etc. Compared to the caliber of people white, black, hispanic, native, or asian in California, they were a shining beacon of what America *SHOULD* act like, rather than the ever devolving social shithole we've become.

That's just my observations having travelled the spectrum of both TSA and 'regular' employees. Also the SFO TSA agents were lively and not RUDE, but they lacked the class and professionalism that the Atlanta ones seemed to have.

Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784079)

(Score: -1, Unfortunately Accurate)

Anyone who is paying attention realizes the TSA is a jobs program. Make-work jobs programs are inherently intended to "Keeps (the unemployed) off the street and out of trouble."

What exactly about this comment deserves to be down-voted? Acknowledging that the US government still preferentially hires minorities?

Beyond that, "blacks" probably have a selection bias working in their favor vs other minorities because English is their first language, and they are much less likely to have foreign nationals as relatives.

Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about two weeks ago | (#47784019)

That Act will go down in American history as the single, most damaging, assault on liberty in this country.

Re:No-Fly List, TSA, nudeo scanners. it's all thea (1)

Smauler (915644) | about two weeks ago | (#47784883)

I wasn't going to go all grammar nazi.... but since it was repeated.

It's not "the single, most damaging, thing", it's "the single most damaging thing".

Agreed. (4, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | about two weeks ago | (#47784833)

The erosion of our liberties and freedoms under the Patriot Act have been beyond shameful. We backed that up with blunders like GITMO. I am not sure where it ends, but it has played out as if the playbook was right from an Orwell novel.

It would also be nice if we put more effort into being a likeable country rather than spending so much time, effort, money, and political capital keeping our enemies at bay and out allies paid off. If we would stop meddling in everyone else's affairs we might not have so many people and groups trying to attack us in the first place. It would take decades, as we have meddled for quite a while in quite a lot of places. But long term, it would be nice to have the moral high ground again.

America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783827)

Land of the free

Re:America (1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47783915)

Look, no matter how totalitarian we actually are, we will always pretend this is true. "America is the specialist most freest place in the universe" is an idea beaten into children's heads without qualification throughout early and middle childhood. It's my pet theory that this is the mechanism by which we get so many libertarians.

Re:America (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about two weeks ago | (#47784015)

Look, no matter how totalitarian we actually are, we will always pretend this is true. "America is the specialist most freest place in the universe" is an idea beaten into children's heads without qualification throughout early and middle childhood. It's my pet theory that this is the mechanism by which we get so many libertarians.

That just makes it all the more disillusioning when you figure out that it's bullshit.

Re:America (1)

pla (258480) | about two weeks ago | (#47784035)

It's my pet theory that this is the mechanism by which we get so many libertarians.

Strange, you just keep tossing out random completely off-topic straw-man attacks against Libertarians... And in a context where they would agree with you completely.

Libertarians hate big-government, and in general consider the patriot act nothing short of an abomination. Bringing up your personal demons at every opportunity really doesn't look any better than the morons who blame Obama for everything.

Re:America (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about two weeks ago | (#47784113)

Let's set aside the kinda inane charge of a strawman, since I haven't outlined any sort of libertarian position, and jump straight to the mess of "why bring them up at all?"

The answer is that their agreement, while politically convenient to the policy position I'd want, is based off of fundamentally different reasons I'd find specious, and I'd prefer to clarify the source of my opinion.

In other news... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783863)

A certain judge will be placed on the no-fly list on Sept 6.

this would expose an enormous state secret. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about two weeks ago | (#47783895)

To divulge this information would let loose the fact that the list is populated arbitrarily in most cases, and in others using illegal domestic spying practices currently being swept under the rug by the administration and the NSA. More importantly it would further confirm the TSA and most of homeland security as nothing more than security theatre and lemon socialism for defense contractors. Further, it would serve also to undermine more than a decade of highly controversial foreign and domestic policy in the wake of the september 11th attacks.

Another way to approach this retiscence from the government is in terms of employment and consumer confidence, as thats really all a capitalist government is focused on when it legislates. for those who insist it would help to dismantle the department of homeland security, its not that simple or even prudent to do. closing a 60 billion dollar a year facility would instantly land a quarter of a million americans unemployed as well as trigger staff cuts in military agencies and various contractors across the board. the long story short: as capitalism employs outsourcing and offshoring in its advancing race to the bottom, it becomes increasingly incapable of providing gainful employment for anyone and in turn government programs like this must be protected, even if they do very little else but harass the public and chase their tail. the big state secret is that the United States can hardly keep the government open, lags the world in education, and leads the world in incarceration

Re:this would expose an enormous state secret. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47783941)

The broken window fallacy is a socialist fallacy. Although good work trying to make it look capitalist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_window

Re:this would expose an enormous state secret. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784003)

doh! just ran out of mod points. generally +1 insightful, except I'm not sure what "lemon socialism" is. perhaps it is autocorrect, and you meant "lennon socialism"?

Re: this would expose an enormous state secret. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784047)

It's not like any of the TSA thugs are qualified to work anywhere else... They might be good at manual labor but they haven't been doing that as a career thus far.

Re:this would expose an enormous state secret. (2)

Insightfill (554828) | about two weeks ago | (#47784447)

closing a 60 billion dollar a year facility would instantly land a quarter of a million americans unemployed

We've got a crapload of roads and bridges that need to be redone, and the deficit is shrinking at a staggering rate. The government has been able to borrow money at a NEGATIVE effective APR since for about six years, but has been blocked from doing so.

I say we give the 60 billion to infrastructure, which will employ a lot more than a quarter of a million people in the long run. Instead, we rely on an accounting gimmick to take money from 10 years out to pay for 10 months of the Highway Trust Fund.

Wait what? (4, Informative)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about two weeks ago | (#47783901)

"... that reading the material "would not assist the Court in deciding the pending Motion to Dismiss (PDF) because it is not an appropriate means to test the scope of the assertion of the State Secrets privilege.""
Actually, that is precisely what letting the judge read the criteria would do.
I suspect that the real problem is that the criteria used for being added to the No-Fly list are overbroad and arbitrary. The secret here is that the No-Fly list is a farce.

Re:Wait what? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784007)

Basically they are admitting that it is all BS and therefore it would just be a waste of the honorable judge's time to read the briefing.

THIS (4, Insightful)

korbulon (2792438) | about two weeks ago | (#47783907)

is one of the many reasons why I think there really is no discernible difference between Republicans and Democrats. Two sides of the same d2. I kinda fooled myself into thinking the Dems would be different after 8 years of W. But we just see more of the same. Same abuse of powers, same sense of entitlement and executive privilege, same (or expanded) levels of invasive surveillance, same police-state mentality.

The federal government has become an insatiable monstrosity of bureaucratic machinery that would have defied even the imagination of Kafka, demanding accountability and transparency from all (achieving such ends at gunpoint or through a wiretap), while offering none itself.

The great insight of the founding fathers was recognizing a need for checks and balances, and creating a theoretical system to prevent excesses of the executive (or the other branches). The problem with this nice idea is that in the real world powerful people tend to curry favor among themselves, where Supreme Court justices go on duck hunting trips with the Vice President and suchlike: the branches of government are just three sides of the same d3.

Re:THIS (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784025)

The federal government has become an insatiable monstrosity of bureaucratic machinery that would have defied even the imagination of Kafka, demanding accountability and transparency from all (achieving such ends at gunpoint or through a wiretap), while offering none itself.

I propose the term "monstrosarchy"

Re:THIS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784301)

What took you so long?

Far more concerned about the terrorist watch list (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about two weeks ago | (#47783927)

When this topic came up a few weeks ago here on Slashdot, I did a bit of research and found out that the "no fly list" would be better named the "no entry list", as the people are not allowed to enter or leave the country on a plane - they can fly within the country if they wish. It is a list of a few hundred citizens and a few thousand foreign nationals not allowed to fly into or out of the country. The Terrorist Watch List, on the other hand, has MILLIONS of people listed, mostly US citizens.

I'm far more concerned about the government watching millions of it's own people, treating them potential terrorists, than I am about them listing a few thousand foreign actors who aren't allowed to enter the US.

Re:Far more concerned about the terrorist watch li (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784043)

The terrorist watch list is the new national ID system. Eventually everyone will be on it.

Consdiring their past... (5, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | about two weeks ago | (#47783965)

I remember there was this case where a woman in the US on an education visa was put on the list, allowed to fly out of the US, then not allowed to fly back in next september. She had not finished her studies.

She sued, and called her mother as a witness. Her mother was then put on the list and not allowed back in. The US denied doing this, but the airline said that was why she was not allowed to board.

Eventually they discovered that the original reason the daughter was put on the no fly list was that someone interviewing her had checked the wrong box on a form.

She won her law suit, and the US had to remove her from the list. This was after years of having her education interrupted.

Basically, the no fly list is a poorly managed piece of crap that they are ashamed to admit they usually have no idea why anyone is on the list.

I don't think it's hard to guess (4, Insightful)

fey000 (1374173) | about two weeks ago | (#47784013)

1. Does the subject wear a turban? If yes, add to list. If no, continue.
2. Can you pronounce the subject's name? If no, add to list, if yes, continue.
3. Has subject slept with your significant other or ex? If yes, add to list, if no, continue.
4. Flip a coin. If heads, add to list, if tails, continue.
5. Do you want the subject on the list? If yes, add to list, if no, arrest subject for loitering and go to lunch.

Good old Fed Gov't.. (1)

Rigel47 (2991727) | about two weeks ago | (#47784055)

working tirelessly to empower itself, subjugate your rights, and make the Deep State that much deeper. All in the name of "national security" of course.

It's because they don't really have one (2)

mbone (558574) | about two weeks ago | (#47784067)

I would bet serious money that the No Fly List results from inputs from a variety of different agencies applying different and inconsistent rules, or in some cases maybe no rules at all.

Look for the redacted letters :p (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about two weeks ago | (#47784087)

and thus pose a national security threat

...and thus expose a national security threat

FTFTFF (Fixed That for the Fucking Fascists)

We already know how they do it. (4, Funny)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about two weeks ago | (#47784157)

In a sub-basement of the Nebraska Avenue Complex, the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, sit a couple of men staring at a computer screen and talking to each other in heavily accented English. The screen fades to white for a fraction of a second as it refreshes, the image changing from a young white woman to a man of Middle Eastern descent - a dentist in Seattle, but these men would never think to look that up. One of the men, brown-haired with an average build, his arms and legs containing a bit of muscle from his time at what he proudly refers to as "Fort Buttfuck, Texas" but his slight gut telling the real story of years spent "analyzing" various persons of interest and inhaling massive lunches purchased on the government's dime turns to his friend, a slightly shorter man from a small town in Oklahoma who is missing one of his front teeth. Unlike his friend, he's purely lean, having spent a good chunk of his taxpayer-funded salary on an expensive gym in Maryland - one that's popular with some of the senators when they come down to Washington to do business.

"Hey Earl," the first man says, "You reckon this guy's a terrorist?" he asks, pronouncing "terrorist" as "turrorist".

"I dunno, Clete, I reckon he might be," the second man replies. "Think we should ask the NSA for some intel?"

Clete thinks for a moment. "Reckon we 'oughta. I'll make the call."

Clete reaches to his left, past a hill of Taco Bell wrappers, and picks up a single throwing dart from a beer can he'd cut in half one day when business had been slower. Just to the the right of the screen (but far enough away that the screen won't be hit, because Earl caught hell from their supervisor after he put a dart through the last screen) with a clear line of sight to Clete's chair, a dartboard hangs from a nail in the wall. A printed-out sign (Comic Sans, of course) above it reads "NSA". An identical dartboard, with an identical sign, hangs on the left of the screen for Earl's use.

With a deep inhale, Clete tenses his arm, letting it go as he exhales. The dart sails across the room and embeds itself in the wall half an inch from the rim of the dartboard. Clete could've sworn he had better aim than this - after five years of experience, he was pretty good at darts - but one look at Mt. Bud (Earl's pet name for the pile of empty beer cans they tossed into a corner for the janitors to clean up. Clete had always reckoned that they were illegals, but they picked up the beer cans well enough.) told him he'd probably had one or two too many. "Fuckin' shit!" Clete cried in anger. Earl was beating him by 10 points now, which meant Clete would be paying for the drinks after work. "Yeah Earl, reckon he's a turrorist."

Earl dutifully pulls out a small remote control, one that has only two buttons - the red button and the green button. Green means go, red means No-Fly list. He presses the red button, and a large red circle with a cross through it, the standard "NO" sign, appears over the face on the screen. There's a whirring from the back of the room as the computer prints out the paperwork to add the dentist from Seattle, who had never had any terrorist affiliations in his life, to the No-Fly list, complete with an automated version of Clete's hastily-scrawled signature at the bottom, with Earl's underneath as a witness. The image on screen changes to another photo, this one of a teenager. Earl takes a long pull from his beer. He's got this one.

Jail them for contempt (5, Interesting)

msk (6205) | about two weeks ago | (#47784183)

It's long past time that federal judges start jailing these bureaucrats for contempt for not answering simple questions about the no-fly list.

Re:Jail them for contempt (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about two weeks ago | (#47784817)

good luck with that.

No contest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47784335)

Judge asks for reason why this is a good idea.

Mr. Holder says he'd rather not.

Judge says, if you are sure you want to go that way then I guess you loose.

It is sad when the Attorney General of the US can't even privately defend his position.
It would be really bad for the Constitution if his position won the day.
Hopefully the judge won't let that happen.

Backups (1)

irbeginner (3412409) | about two weeks ago | (#47784671)

Oops. Hard drive crashed. No copies of the no-fly list.

Give 10 Judges Q Clearance (4, Insightful)

vortex2.71 (802986) | about two weeks ago | (#47784777)

This is all such a joke and epitomizes the cat and mouse game that the executive office likes to play. Any idiot can see that the clear solution is to give all supreme court justices and several federal appeals court justices in each district Q clearances to review any top secret information pertinent to the cases that they are hearing. This would allow for proper judicial review rather than trample on the constitution's system of checks and balances. Further, ALL state senators should be given Q clearances also, so that they can properly perform legislative action. When you consider the number of people working at FBI, CIA, national labs, etc, adding 50 judges and 100 senators doesn't make much difference. If people were serious about democracy, this would have happened years ago.

Asking How People Are Put On the No-Fly List (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about two weeks ago | (#47784783)

Will get you put on the No-Fly List.
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