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Greater Use of Privilege Spurs Concern
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post

Washington Post, January 29, 2008
Posted: February 3rd, 2008

The U.S. government has been increasing its use of the state secrets privilege to avoid disclosure of classified information in civil lawsuits. Some legal scholars and members of Congress contend that the Bush administration has employed it excessively as it intervened in cases that could expose information about sensitive programs. These include the rendition of detainees to foreign countries for interrogation and cases related to the National Security Agency's use of warrantless wiretaps. The privilege allows the government to argue that lawsuits -- and the information potentially revealed by them -- could damage national security. It gives judges the power to prevent information from reaching public view or to dismiss cases even if they appear to have merit. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) ... cited statistics that show the Bush administration has used the state secrets privilege substantially more, on a percentage basis, than previous administrations to block or dismiss lawsuits. Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation ... said "The administration is attempting to use the privilege as a back-door immunity to obtain dismissal of any case that attempts to put the NSA wiretapping issue in front of a judge. It is no secret such a program existed."

Note: For many disturbing reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.

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