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Belleville Attorney, ACLU Sue Over 'No-Fly' List


By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – A St. Louis-area man and six other plaintiffs are suing the federal government. They claim the Transportation Security Administration is violating their constitutional rights with its "no-fly" list.

The list is aimed at keeping terrorists off commercial aircraft. But a class-action suit by the American Civil Liberties Union claims the list violates rights to due process and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Belleville attorney David Nelson is one of the plaintiffs. He says he's been detained more than 40 times at various airports because his name is on the list.

"Neither my name nor my story is unique," Nelson said. Even David Nelson, the star of the sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett, said he was stopped in California last December while on his way to visit his daughter in Salt Lake City."

TSA spokeswoman Chris Rhatigan acknowledges flaws in the list's administration, but says the agency has procedures in place to correct errors.

"What we really, really have here is a customer service violation, as opposed to a constitutional violation," Rhatigan said. "We're confident that if we move forward with the system we've identified to replace the current system, that a lot of these false positives would be eliminated."

Rhatigan says the TSA is testing a new database. She says the current one has about a 10 percent error rate.