Judge In No Fly List Trial Won't Let Plaintiff Or Her Lawyers See The Evidence
from the due-process! dept
We’ve written quite a few times about the lawsuit brought by Dr. Rahinah Ibrahim, testing the legality of the US’s no fly list, which she was put on in what appears to be a massive mistake by Homeland Security, which they’ve proceeded to make worse every chance they get. Being on the no fly list also appears to have made the State Department deny her a visa to come to her own trial, and then DHS directly got involved to block Ibrahim’s daughter from flying to the US to be a witness, and then directly lying about it to the court.
Edward Hasbrouck at the Identity Project, who has been doing a ton of excellent reporting on the case, has the latest, noting that the Judge, William Alsup, has now denied both Dr. Ibrahim and her lawyers from being able to see the classified evidence being used against her. This seems like a generally questionable move — especially since Alsup himself has repeatedly questioned why certain information in the case was secret in the first place. But, in the end, this appears to mainly be a process issue. Dr. Ibrahim was told she could see the evidence if she was present in the courtroom, but since the State Department denied her a visa… she wasn’t able to be there.
But, both her lawyers and Dr. Ibrahim herself knew all of this for a while, and could have (and probably should have) sought clearance to view classified documents. That’s not to say it would have absolutely happened, but they didn’t go through the basic process, and Judge Alsup has said that it’s a bit late to suddenly ask.
Plaintiff’s counsel could have sought clearance to view classified information well in advance of trial. Plaintiff’s counsel did not. Instead, plaintiff’s counsel waited until after trial to request an order for access to classified information. This order will not permit plaintiff’s counsel to circumvent the usual classified clearance process at this late date when such unreasonable conditions are requested.
The “unreasonable conditions” included a request to discuss the classified information with Dr. Ibrahim, though, again, she also did not seek clearance. Now, there’s a reasonable argument about whether or not the government ever would have allowed any of them to get clearance and to look at the evidence — but not even seeking to go through the process appears to be a big procedural mistake, cutting off the opportunity to legally challenge those decisions.