SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. government has no "hard and fast" rules for deciding who gets put on the secret list of terror suspects barred from boarding airliners, the Transportation Security Administration said in court papers Friday.
The 301 pages of edited documents, filed in federal court in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union, also said the secret list grew from 16 names the day of the Sept. 11 attacks to 594 by mid-December 2001.
One heavily blacked-out document says getting on a list is guided by two "primary" principles: One is whether various intelligence agencies view an individual as a "potential threat to U.S. civil aviation." The other is whether the agency requesting someone be put on a list has provided enough information to identify the person to be flagged at the check-in counter.
"However, these principles are necessarily subjective, providing guidelines, not 'hard and fast' rules."