The government contested a former Stanford University student’s assertion that she was wrongly placed on a no-fly list for seven years in court despite knowing an FBI official put her on the list by mistake because he checked the “wrong boxes” on a form, a federal judge wrote today.
The agent, Michael Kelly, based in San Jose, misunderstood the directions on the form and “erroneously nominated” Rahinah Ibrahim to the list in 2004, the judge wrote.
“He checked the wrong boxes, filling out the form exactly the opposite way from the instructions on the form,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup wrote (.pdf) today.
The decision makes Ibrahim, 48, the first person to successfully challenge placement on a government watch list.
Much of the federal court trial, in which the woman sought only to clear her name, was conducted in secret after U.S. officials repeatedly invoked the state secrets privilege and sought to have the case dismissed.
When this woman called her daughter as a witness, the DOJ contacted the airline the daughter was flying on and instructed them to keep her off the plane and then denied that they had done so.