Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft can be sued by an American citizen held as a witness suspected of having information in a terrorism case, the Ninth Circuit has ruled. Abdullah al-Kidd accused Ashcroft
of violating his constitutional rights in 2003, when he was held for without charges for 16 days. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's policy was "a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history" and detention of witnesses without charge after the 9/11 attacks was "repugnant to
the constitution". The judges said even qualified immunity does not allow the Attorney General to carry out national security functions
in violation of the law.