from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2015, Issue No. 10
February 5, 2015

Secrecy News Blog:


In a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the "no fly" list, in which the government has asserted the state secrets privilege, a federal court signaled that it would consider requiring judicial approval of "no fly" determinations involving U.S. citizens.

Judge Anthony J. Trenga, who presides over the case Gulet Mohamed v. Eric Holder in the Eastern District of Virginia, set a hearing on February 24 to allow the government to supplement its argument that the case must be dismissed on state secrets grounds. Judge Trenga has previously rejected government arguments that state secrets required dismissal of the case and concluded the case could proceed without the assertedly privileged documents. (Secrecy News, 10/31/14).

In a February 2 order, he told the government to be prepared to explain "how the under seal documents as to which the state secrets privilege is claimed preclude adjudication of the procedural due process claims without their use and disclosure."

Beyond that, however, Judge Trenga hinted at a possible remedy to the constitutional challenge before the court involving independent judicial review of "no fly" determinations.

He asked the government to address "whether, and if so how, national security considerations make it impractical or otherwise undesirable to submit for ex parte, in camera judicial review and approval the placement of United States citizens on the No Fly List, either before a citizen's placement on the No Fly List or within a specific time period after placement on the No Fly List."

The upcoming hearing will be closed and ex parte.


The membership of the new Congress has set several new demographic records, according to a survey by the Congressional Research Service.

"One hundred eight women (a record number) serve in the 114th Congress: 88 in the House, including four Delegates, and 20 in the Senate. There are 46 African American Members of the House and two in the Senate. This House number includes two Delegates. There are 38 Hispanic or Latino Members (a record number) serving: 34 in the House, including one Delegate and the Resident Commissioner, and four in the Senate. A record 14 Members (11 Representatives, two Delegates, and one Senator) are Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders. Two American Indians (Native Americans) serve in the House," CRS found.

"The average age of Members of the House at the beginning of the 114th Congress was 57.0 years; of Senators, 61.0 years. The overwhelming majority of Members of Congress have a college education." See "Membership of the 114th Congress: A Profile," January 22, 2015:

Other new or newly updated CRS reports that Congress has withheld from online public distribution include the following.

Latin America and the Caribbean: Key Issues for the 114th Congress, January 28, 2015:

Nigeria's 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis, January 28, 2015:

Homeland Security Appropriations: FY2015 Action in the 114th Congress, January 30, 2015:

H.R. 399, the Secure Our Borders First Act of 2015: Report in Brief, January 27, 2015:

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Overview, January 30, 2015:

Congressional Roll Call Votes on the Keystone XL Pipeline, January 22, 2015:

In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Claims Against Saudi Defendants Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), January 22, 2015:

Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations, January 23, 2015:

Defense: FY2015 Authorization and Appropriations, January 28, 2015:

U.S. Trade Concepts, Performance, and Policy: Frequently Asked Questions, January 30, 2015:

Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal Issues, January 28, 2015:

Multilateral Development Banks: U.S. Contributions FY2000-FY2015, January 26, 2015:

Who Regulates Whom and How? An Overview of U.S. Financial Regulatory Policy for Banking and Securities Markets, January 30, 2015:

Oil Sands and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund: The Definition of "Oil" and Related Issues for Congress, January 22, 2015:

U.S.-Mexico Water Sharing: Background and Recent Developments, January 23, 2015:

National Security Letters: Proposals in the 113th Congress, January 22, 2015:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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