ACLU of Northern CA Seeks Government Accountability Regarding Federal "No Fly" List

December 12, 2002 12:00 am

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SAN FRANCISCO – The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California today filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act seeking information about the government’s “no fly list” and other government watch lists.

“We want to find out how a person’s name gets on government watch lists like the ‘no fly’ list, and how a person can get her name off such lists,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “There should be public accountability as to government watch lists like the ‘no fly’ list.”

The requests were filed on behalf of Jan Adams and Rebecca Gordon, who were told by airline agents that their names appeared on a “no fly” list at San Francisco International Airport . The requests were filed with the Transportation Security Agency, FBI headquarters in Washington, and the FBI office in San Francisco.

The requests also seek information on the number of names on the “no fly” list or other government watch lists, the number of times that individuals were incorrectly identified as being on such lists at San Francisco Airport and other airports across the country, and whether individuals are targeted for such lists based on First Amendment activities.

Last month, in response to an ACLU query, officials at San Francisco Airport confirmed the existence of a “no-fly” list and that Adams and Gordon had been checked against a master “FBI list.”

Adams and Gordon were stopped at the airport on August 7, 2002 when they checked in for an American Trans Air flight to Boston via Chicago. The agents who checked them in told them that their names appeared on a “no fly” list. San Francisco police arrived and informed Adams and Gordon that the police would have to check whether their names appeared on a “master list.” Although they were eventually allowed to fly, their boarding passes were marked with a red “S,” which subjected them to additional searches.

For more information about their stories, read the ACLU report “Caught in the Backlash,” online at

The “FOIA” requests filed by the ACLU of Northern California are available online at /node/35403 and /node/35404.

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