Protect Democracy’s Lawsuit Challenging the Government’s Publication of Disinformation about Foreign Terrorism

On May 3, 2018, Protect Democracy, the Brennan Center for Justice, Michael F. Crowley, and Benjamin Wittes filed a complaint in federal court against the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security under the Information Quality Act, demanding the retraction or correction of a misleading report on the national origin of terrorists.

On January 16, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a report entitled “Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, Initial Section 11 Report”. The report was compiled and released in conjunction with the so-called “Travel Ban.” On February 8, Protect Democracy and several other experts filed a petition under the Information Quality Act (IQA), identifying a series of fundamental flaws in the report that violate the government’s own guidelines, and asking DOJ and DHS to retract or correct the report. The suit is filed in the District of Massachusetts.

The complete release is here.

The complaint can be read here.

When the report was published, it was criticized by people from across the ideological spectrum. You can read a collection of that criticism here.

Scholars have raised concerns about the democratic implications of governments spreading misinformation. You can read that here.

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