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Trucker wrongly watch-listed sues U.S.

Published: April 15, 2008 at 9:34 PM


WASHINGTON, April 15 (UPI) -- An Atlanta truck driver who says he lost his job after being wrongly placed on a U.S. terrorist watch-list is petitioning the Supreme Court for redress.

Bilal Mahmud was one of 29 truckers across the United States whose license to haul hazardous materials was withdrawn by the Transportation Security Administration in 2004, after the names of 2.7 million commercial drivers were run against U.S. terrorist watch-lists.

Mahmud appealed and his license was eventually restored by the TSA, but he says he lost his job and reputation and is still on the watch-list.

His attempt to sue the official in charge of TSA's watch-list office, Justin Oberman, was dismissed by a federal court in Atlanta last year, which effectively ruled the reinstatement of his license was the only redress he was entitled to. His appeal was dismissed by the 11th Circuit without a hearing, after voluntary mediation failed.

"The mediation didn't go anywhere," Mahmud told UPI Tuesday, "so we're filing with the Supreme Court."

The petition is a request for the court to take up the case. The Supreme Court receives hundreds of such certiorari petitions every year and takes up only a few considered especially significant.

Oberman, now a consultant, is being represented by U.S. attorneys in the case because he is being sued for actions he undertook as a government official.

No one from the Department of Justice, which routinely declines comment on ongoing litigation, immediately responded to a query about the filing.

Mahmud says he apparently remains on the U.S. terrorist watch-list, citing a traffic stop last year when the officer told him his "license had a flag on it from Homeland Security."

Mahmud, an African-American who converted to Islam after a three-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam, held a top-secret clearance while in the military and has no criminal or terrorist connections, his lawyers say.

© 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Or think ye that ye shall be abandoned, as though Allah did not know those among you who strive with might and main, and take none for friends and protectors except Allah, His Messenger, and the (community of) Believers? But Allah is well- acquainted with (all) that ye do.

Quran: 9:16
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