Judge Rules Government Must Turn Over Classified Information « The Washington Independent
In surprising slap-in-the-face order to the government, a federal judge ruled last month that a court can require the government to disclose classified information to an individual with security clearance even if the executive branch doesn’t want to.
Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News reports that Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, D.C., ruled on August 26 in the case of Richard A. Horn v. Franklin Huddle, Jr. that the parties in the lawsuit need to be able to discuss classified information they possess with their lawyers. The case was brought by a former agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency who says his home in Burma was illegally wiretapped by the CIA in 1993 (apparently via a government-issued coffee table) because they didn’t like his work on the Burmese drug trade.Although the government tried to argue that the case should be dismissed on “state secrets” grounds, as it has many other cases, Judge Lamberth disagreed, and noted that the government had lied to the court about the information it said was secret. Judge Lamberth was therefore not inclined to trust the government’s judgment on what “classified” information could be viewed by the attorneys involved.
“The deference generally granted the Executive Branch in matters of classification and national security must yield when the Executive attempts to exert control over the courtroom,” Judge Lamberth wrote.