In Bizarre No-Fly List Trial, Even the Verdict Might Be Top Secret

Elizabeth-PipkinBy David Kravets, Wired Magazine

SAN FRANCISCO -- Is former Stanford University scholar Rahinah Ibrahim connected to Malaysian jihadists, as the FBI once suggested, or is she the victim of misguided U.S. bureaucrats who erroneously placed her on a U.S. terror watchlist? Is she even on a watchlist at all?

Those are the lingering unanswered questions in the first-of-its kind federal trial challenging a traveler's alleged placement on America's notorious no-fly list. The 48-year-old Malaysian woman's case against the U.S. government -- in which she seeks solely to clear her name -- is awaiting a judge's verdict after a week of testimony, the bulk of it classified and given behind closed doors here in a San Francisco federal courtroom.

But underscoring the Kafkaesque flavor of the trial, there's a real possibility the verdict itself will be kept a secret, even from Ibrahim.

"It is conceivable? If the government continues to keep this information secret from her and the public, and the judge sustains that objection, it is possible we can have a ruling in this case and she would not know the result," Elizabeth Marie Pipkin, Ibrahim's pro-bono attorney, said in a telephone interview. (Read more)


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