Thursday, March 26, 2009

State Secrets Privilege To Be Tested

The Obama administration now seeks to invoke a more extensive state-secrets privilege then its predecessor, despite what was said on the campaign trail. Sound familiar? A ruling from Judge Vaughn R. Walker could be handed down at any moment:
Civil liberties advocates are accusing the Obama administration of forsaking campaign rhetoric and adopting the same expansive arguments that his predecessor used to cloak some of the most sensitive intelligence-gathering programs of the Bush White House.
The first signs have come just weeks into the new administration, in a case filed by an Oregon charity suspected of funding terrorism. President Obama's Justice Department not only sought to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that it implicated "state secrets," but also escalated the standoff -- proposing that government lawyers might take classified documents from the court's custody to keep the charity's representatives from reviewing them.
The suit by the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation has proceeded further than any other in challenging the use of warrantless wiretaps, threatening to expose the inner workings of that program. It is the second time the new Justice Department has followed its predecessors in claiming the state-secrets privilege, which would allow the government to exclude evidence in a civil case on grounds that it jeopardizes national security.
See our earlier post on this matter here.

Update: Judge Walker denied the government's motion on April 17.

No comments:

Post a Comment