The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Bipartisan Advocacy Group Urges Holder to Change Position on State Secrets

Since my story a few weeks ago on the Jeppesen Dataplan case, there’s been growing pressure on the Obama administration to reverse course and stop asserting

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 06, 2009

Since my story a few weeks ago on the Jeppesen Dataplan case, there’s been growing pressure on the Obama administration to reverse course and stop asserting “state secrets” to thwart the case, which in addition to compensating these victims, could reveal critical information about the Bush administration’s torture and abuse of detainees in the “war on terror.” Justice Department officials are expected to present arguments in the case on Monday.

Yesterday the American Civil Liberties Union held a press briefing on the matter, and today, the bipartisan Constitution Project sent a letter to new Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to reconsider the government’s position.

Constitution Project President and Founder Virginia Sloan wrote:

As I reported earlier, the ACLU is representing five victims of the Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” policy in a lawsuit against Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing, for allegedly assisting the CIA in abducting suspects of Middle East descent and flying them around the world to be tortured. Although the case was carefully NOT filed against the U.S. government, the CIA under Bush intervened, and convinced the federal court in California to dismiss the case, claiming that simply letting it proceed would endanger national security.

How? The government insisted — despite numerous public statements about the program from top U.S. officials, including CIA directors and the president himself — that the CIA’s extraordinary rendition practices are a secret, and any information about them would endanger the United States and strengthen its enemies.

Although the ACLU lawyers had no objection to the judge sealing from public view any particularly sensitive and classified evidence that would emerge in the course of the case, the government insisted that the entire lawsuit posed a threat and that the case must be dismissed. The court accepted the government’s view, based largely on a sealed CIA declaration.

The ACLU appealed the dismissal, and the matter is scheduled for oral argument before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California on Monday.

Despite recent media reports requests for clarification from advocacy groups, the Obama administration so far has not changed its position in this case — the first major test of its early pronouncements to eliminate unnecessary secrecy and renounce torture.

Interestingly, as I reported earlier this week, the Obama administration apparently just affirmed Bush secrecy policies in a related case filed in the United Kingdom. In that lawsuit, in which Gitmo detainee Binyam Mohamed (also a plaintiff in the Jeppesen case) sought evidence to support his claims of mistreatment by U.S. officials, the Obama administration refused to change an earlier U.S. government position insisting that the evidence– and even the U.K. court’s summary of the evidence– remain secret.

The Jeppesen case, taking place in a U.S. court, provides an even more compelling case for the Obama administration to reverse its predecessors’ course and allow the judge to handle the evidence in accordance with U.S. law, which has many methods for protecting against dangerous disclosures.

We will be watching closely to see how the new administration proceeds.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

Related

$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com