House and Senate committees yesterday introduced bills that would sharply curtail the government's use of the "state secrets" privilege, a policy used by President Bush to argue that a lawsuit involving allegations of torture should be dismissed - and a position that the Obama administration has now adopted.More here.
Drafted and filed separately by the House and Senate Judiciary committees, the legislation was filed just days after Justice Department lawyers working for the new administration told a federal appeals court that its position did not differ from the Bush administration's: the court should throw out a lawsuit that accuses Jeppesen Inc., of helping the CIA secretly transport five terrorism suspects overseas for harsh interrogations, on the grounds that the suit involved state secrets that, if revealed, could jeopardize national security.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Obama contradiction leads to bill
The Obama administration ruffled quite a few feathers by taking the same position as former President Bush on an issue involving government secrecy and torture, two positions Obama condemned upon entering office. Now legislation has been filed to limit the use of the "state secrets" privilege, the Boston Globe reported. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the bill "does not restrict the government's ability to assert the privilege in appropriate cases. In light of the pending cases where this privilege has been invoked, involving issues including torture, rendition and warrantless wiretapping, we can ill afford to delay consideration of this important legislation."