Chebli says the ban prevented him from completing a Muslim tradition of traveling to Mecca, Arabia Saudita.
During the August 2018 interrogation, FBI agents allegedly said Chebli would be “useful as an informant because of his language skills, Lebanese background, and technical expertise as an engineer” per “help in identifying and tracking people in his community who intended to harm the United States,” secondo la causa.
Chebli says his anxiety grew as the agents continued to pressure him to take on the role. Out of fear and a desire to clear his name from falsely being connected to Hezbollah, he met with them seven times, but in the end still refused to become an informant, secondo la causa.
Since Chebli learned he was on the no-fly list in 2018, he has been diligently trying to clear his name through a “fair process” but he says the federal government has not complied.
CNN has reached out to the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, l'FBI, the Transportation Security Administration and the Terrorist Screening Center that’s under the FBI.
“Since this inquiry involves ongoing litigation, we are unable to comment,” said Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the TSA.
Chebli says he and his family were subjected to “invasive searches” at the airport while traveling domestically or internationally. “Sig. Chebli felt powerless to protect his family and worried about their ability to proceed through the screening process safely and without the stigma that comes from being singled out by government agents,” secondo la causa.
“Sig. Chebli’s Kafkaesque ordeal is emblematic of the government’s abusive use of the no-fly list, especially against Muslims, and the multiple constitutional violations that result,” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, ha detto in una dichiarazione.