Failing to Support Security Threat Claim, TSA Dismisses Case Against Muslim-American Airline Pilot After Rutherford Institute Intervenes
by The Rutherford Institute
PHOENIX, Ariz. — After failing to substantiate their claims that commercial airline pilot Imran Jamali is in any way a security threat, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has agreed to dismiss its case against the Muslim-American pilot and reinstate his flying credentials. The reversal comes after The Rutherford Institute intervened in defense of Jamali’s right under the Fifth Amendment to not only know the charges against him but also defend himself against those charges in a court of law. Prior to the Institute’s involvement, the TSA had stonewalled Jamali in his efforts to determine the TSA’s basis for labeling him a security threat and stripping him of his flying badge and certificates.
“Hopefully this victory in Imran Jamali’s case will serve as a warning to government agencies that they must abide by the rule of law, which is our U.S. Constitution,” stated John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The right to due process of law cannot be sacrificed in a rush to identify potential security threats. When civil liberties are tossed out the window, we all lose.”
In August 2010, TSA agents showed up at Imran Jamali’s home, demanding that he surrender his flying badge and certificates because the agency deemed him a “security threat.” Although the agents failed to produce a warrant at Jamali’s request, Jamali complied with their orders on the advice of an attorney with the Airline Pilots Association. Having been stripped of his flying credentials, which rendered him unable to work, Jamali repeatedly asked for an administrative review of the TSA’s actions, as well as to be informed of the basis for the charges against him.
In response, the TSA pushed to postpone the hearings and avoid having to provide any evidence supporting their claim. Jamali then turned to The Rutherford Institute for help. Concerned that Jamali’s civil rights may have fallen victim to a rush to judgment by the government agencies, Institute attorneys agreed to intervene. In announcing its decision to dismiss the case against Jamali, the TSA did not give specific reasons for it reversal but simply alluded to “changed circumstances.”
Affiliate attorney Khurrum Wahid with the law firm of Wahid, Vizcaino & Maher assisted The Rutherford Institute in its defense of Imran Jamali. In recent months, Institute attorneys have taken the TSA to task over allegations by pilots and travelers alike of civil liberties abuses as a result of the agency’s enhanced airport security policies, securing victories for two pilots who refused to be subjected to airport whole-body scanners, as well as a college student who was arrested for peacefully protesting the scanners by displaying the text of the Fourth Amendment on his chest.
Information about the Rutherford Institute is available at http://www.rutherford.org.