Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Case of Su Haiping vs. The United States

I have frequently written about Chinese Americans victimized due to racial profiling by American law enforcement agencies. Dr. Su Haiping was one such victim. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, his case has finally come to trial after nearly 6 years. Some of the proceedings in court has been reported by the World Journal, the national daily in Chinese, and I have provided a translation below.

Court Case on (violation of) Privacy Rights Opens, Su Haiping Asking $5.2 Million Compensation.

Lawyers for UCSC agriculture scientist Su Haiping on December 6 accuse US government of invasion of his rights to privacy, pointing out that after FBI concluded that Su represent security risk, the management of NASA Ames reveal the findings to Su’s co-workers and at the same time took away Su’s access to Ames Research Center. (Thus) causing heavy damage to Su’s professional reputation and his psychological wellbeing. Representative for the plaintiff is asking compensation of $5.2 miillion from the federal government.

Su’s invasion of privacy case occurred in 2008, at the time when he was working as one of expert analysts for UCSC’s University Affiliated Research Center. The principal source of funding was from NASA. At the time, Su had already been working at the Ames Research Center for nearly 3 years.

Government attorney countered that the difficulty of determining the invasion of a person’s privacy is very high, because such cases involves under what circumstances, to whom and what was said. According to court documents, defendant denied invasion of Su’s rights to privacy. Furthermore, the government attorney believes that disclosures by FBI and NASA were not very harmful to Su, because even though he can no longer go to Ames to work, he remained employed by UCSC.

Su’s case began in July of 2007 when he filled personal information on e-QIP for the purpose of getting NASA approval for facility entry in 2008. After submitting to NSA, he received the entry pass in January 2008 uneventfully. According to Su’s attorney, e-QIP was a new tool used by the government to check on staff after 9-11.

Michael Reedy, Su’s attorney, pointed out that NASA never obtained Su’s permission before turning over the completed e-QIP form to FBI. Defense objected and Davila, the presiding judge, ruled that the hearing does not include the e-QIP matter.

Beginning February 2008, FBI agent Sherman Kwok along with NASA personnel interviewed Su twice, both times in a windowless room at the (Ames) research center.

On March 21, 2008, Su went to Oakland to undertake a FBI administered lie detector test. Su was distraught after the test. According to court documents, FBI agent Kwok told Su that the lie detector results were not good, but there were no means to do a retest. The results were sent on to NASA.

According to Su’s testimony on December 5, June 24 2008 was a unforgettable day in his memory. On that day, Robert Dolci, head of NASA Ames security gave Su a letter signed by Dolci. The letter stated that according to results of investigations, the center considers Su a security risk to NASA’s intellectual property and thus is revoking his access to Ames research center (and the right to work there).

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