MLFA Condemns the Unsecured Handling of the No Fly and Selectee Watchlist

We at MLFA are aware of the recent access and circulation of the No Fly and “Selectee” lists the government provides to airlines and other agencies. We are also aware that this occurred because a small airline had an unsecured server, which the accessing individual was able to navigate to obtain the lists.

Unfortunately, and as we have long suspected, the vast majority of names on these lists “appeared to be of Arabic or Middle Eastern descent.” “These lists affect all Muslims,” stated Arshia Ali-Khan, MLFA’s CEO. “Their widespread release with no way to challenge the labels they impose on individuals violates the rights of all Americans. This now-visible government targeting of Muslims and other minority groups specifically reveals what we have felt all along but often been unable to prove – agencies within our government are failing to follow the Constitution, and they’ve been using the term “national security” to single out Muslims without justification. At least now more people can see the truth.”

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The attorneys in MLFA’s legal division of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (“CLCMA”) represent many clients who suffer harms resulting from placement on these lists, and they continue to challenge the government’s widespread practice of preventing access to or even confirmation of the presence of individuals’ names on these lists, for the Selectee or Watchlist, while also broadly distributing the lists beyond law enforcement, with the knowledge that something could happen to disclose the information — like it just did.

“The irony here is almost laughable, if the impact on innocent individuals wasn’t so significant,” observed Christina A. Jump, CLCMA’s Civil Litigation Department Head. “Government agencies, and specifically the Department of Homeland Security along with the Terrorist Screening Center (which controls these lists), continue to represent to courts that sharing any information with the individuals the agencies brand as suspect by including them on these lists would cause immense harm to national security. Yet they readily provide the lists to over 1,000 agencies by their own admission, and specifically downgrade the lists to an unclassified form because they recognize that many of their recipients will not have any classified clearance. Even the unclassified versions still convey an extreme amount of personal information, subjecting the people on them to potential identity theft or harassment. And that’s on top of the stigma that placement on these lists already brings. Yet these agencies do all of this while denying these individuals the due process the Constitution guarantees them.”

If you believe your information may be contained in one of these leaked lists, which have now been confirmed as legitimate copies of the 2019 lists provided by government agencies, you may have legal remedies available to you. MLFA recommends you consult with an attorney to determine how this disclosure may affect you or your loved ones.