NEW YORK - A leading American newspaper Wednesday criticized as "disturbing" a US Supreme Court ruling that the FBI director and officials of the Bush administration could not be sued over alleged abuse of terror suspects in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. "The Supreme Court this week continued its disturbing campaign of closing the courthouse door to people who allege unfair treatment," The New York Times said in an editorial, citing the case of Javaid Iqbal, a Pakistani citizen, one of many Muslim men rounded up and detained after those attacks and abused by security agents. The newspaper enumerated in detail the facts of Iqbal's case and commented, "When people with legitimate claims cannot get a hearing, the whole system of American justice is diminished" Iqbal, the Times said, was arrested soon after the attacks on immigration charges. The F.B.I. designated him of "high interest and "held him in maximum-security conditions where he said he was abused by the prison staff based on his religion and national origin". The editorial said: "After pleading guilty and being deported, Mr. Iqbal sued John Ashcroft, the attorney general, and Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, alleging that their policies were responsible for his treatment. The government argued that Mr. Iqbals complaint did not have enough detail linking Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Mueller to the offensive actions, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that it did. "On Monday the Supreme Court reversed that ruling in a 5-to-4 vote. In an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court said Mr. Iqbal failed to sufficiently back up his claims and threw out his suit, though he could possibly file it again, rather than letting it proceed so he could gather more evidence. "Some of the governments responses to Sept. 11, like extraordinary rendition of suspects to overseas prisons for harsh interrogation, could only have happened with top officials approval. The mistreatment Mr. Iqbal alleges was not necessarily engineered from on high, but it might have been. "Justice David Souter, in dissent, made a convincing case that Mr. Iqbals complaint was legally sufficient. Mr. Iqbal asserted that Mr. Ashcroft was the principal architect of the detention policies applied to Muslim men like him, and that Mr. Mueller was instrumental in adopting the policies and carrying them out. That should have been enough, Justice Souter said, to allow the suit to go forward. If Mr. Iqbal was allowed to ask the defendants questions, he could have fleshed out his claims. "The courts conservative majority is increasingly using legal technicalities to keep people from getting a fair hearing. In 2007, it ruled against Lilly Ledbetter, the Goodyear manager who was underpaid for years, on the bogus ground that she filed her discrimination complaint too late. Now, by the same 5-to-4 vote, the court has rejected Mr. Iqbal for having too few facts in his complaint. "Congress passed a law reversing the Ledbetter ruling. There is not as easy a fix for this decision, but the problem is just as real. When people with legitimate claims cannot get a hearing, the whole system of American justice is diminished".