October 31, 2011
One of the most disappointing attributes of the Obama administration has been its proclivity for secrecy. The president who committed himself to "an unprecedented level of openness in government" has followed the example of his predecessor by invoking the "state secrets" privilege to derail litigation about government misdeeds in the war on terror. He has refused to release the administration's secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, which two senators have described as alarming. He has blocked the dissemination of photographs documenting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. service members.
May 18, 2011
In a perfunctory order, the Supreme Court on Monday denied a day in court to five alleged victims of one of the grossest abuses of the war on terror: "extraordinary rendition. " That's the euphemism for transferring suspects abroad for interrogation and, it's alleged, torture. Besides denying the five any form of redress for their grievances, the court's action endorses the federal government's overuse of the so-called state secrets privilege to short-circuit the judicial process. That makes the court's action doubly shameful.
October 12, 2010
Should a federal court have any say over whether a U.S. citizen can be targeted for killing by his own government without due process of law? The Obama administration has submitted a lengthy document to a federal court that can be summed up in one disappointing word: No. The Justice Department's attempt to keep the courts out of the case of Anwar Awlaki, an Al Qaeda propagandist thought to be hiding in Yemen, is reminiscent of the Bush...
April 3, 2010
Four and half years after the Bush administration was caught eavesdropping on Americans without court approval, a federal judge in San Francisco has ratified a conclusion many Americans reached long ago: that the administration exceeded its legal authority in the war on terror. But U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker's ruling does more than that. It also reminds the Obama administration, which too often has echoed Bush-era positions on national security issues, that the "state secrets privilege" can cover a multitude of abuses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 1, 2010 |
In a repudiation of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism surveillance program, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government violated federal law when it failed to seek warrants to spy on two lawyers working for an Islamic charity in Oregon. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker rejected assertions by both Presidents Bush and Obama that their state secrets privilege shields them from lawsuits filed by American citizens investigated under a disputed domestic spying program launched after 9/11.
December 14, 2009
At the beginning of this year, just as President Obama was taking office, a lawsuit was heading to court in California in which the Bush administration had invoked what's known as the "state secrets privilege." The administration wanted the case, which had been brought by five alleged victims of torture, dismissed on the grounds that if it went forward, it would require the disclosure of sensitive classified information. The Bush administration loved to invoke the state secrets privilege, and did so more than any previous administration.