August 11, 2015 1:00 pm -

[su_center_b]TSA-grandpaThat’s a less technical way of saying that the TSA and Department of Homeland Security, rather than relying on hard evidence, use “predictive assessments.”

The Obama administration’s no-fly lists and broader watchlisting system is based on predicting crimes rather than relying on records of demonstrated offenses, the government has been forced to admit in court.

In a little-noticed filing before an Oregon federal judge, the US Justice Department and the FBI conceded that stopping US and other citizens from travelling on airplanes is a matter of “predictive assessments about potential threats”, the government asserted in May.

“By its very nature, identifying individuals who ‘may be a threat to civil aviation or national security’ is a predictive judgment intended to prevent future acts of terrorism in an uncertain context,” Justice Department officials Benjamin C Mizer and Anthony J Coppolino told the court on 28 May.

“Judgments concerning such potential threats to aviation and national security call upon the unique prerogatives of the Executive in assessing such threats.”

It is believed to be the government’s most direct acknowledgement to date that people are not allowed to fly because of what the government believes they might do and not what they have already done.

The Justice Department said it must meet a standard of “reasonable suspicion” that a blacklisted individual poses a threat, a step below probable cause.

The declaration comes in a longstanding case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), arguing that the government does not provide significant steps for someone caught in the “predictive assessments” to get off the blacklists.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.