When the FBI gets involved, you would expect some cloak-and-dagger story. This is not that movie.
In Gill v. United States Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, the real-life drama is about as interesting as a long case citation. Basically, agent Kaiser Gill lost his security clearance because he searched an FBI database without authorization.
One detail, however, caught the attention of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Gill said the FBI revoked his security clearance because he is Muslim.
Gill, a decorated veteran and Pakistani immigrant, lost his FBI job in 2006 after he was questioned about unauthorized searches of a case support system. In an internal review hearing, he admitted his misconduct.
Based on that evidence, his security clearance was revoked. He sued, alleging violations of various federal laws, including a constitutional claim that he was treated differently because he is Muslim.
During his time at the bureau, Gill investigated international terrorism in Muslim communities. However, he said later in an opinion piece, he was seen as a traitor to his people.
A district court dismissed his case, and the DC Circuit affirmed. The courts said the FBI acted within the law, especially since Gill admitted his error.
As it turned out, Gill also made a mistake in presenting his discrimination claim to the department's Access Review Committee. The appeals court said it was "fatal."
"Gill failed to raise it before the ARC," the panel said. "Accordingly, Gill has forfeited this equal protection claim."
The former agent went on to open a restaurant in Washington, D.C. For a more interesting tale, consider "American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent."