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Handling Of 'State Secrets' At Issue
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Washington Post

Washington Post, March 25, 2009
Posted: April 5th, 2009

Civil liberties advocates are accusing the Obama administration of ... adopting the same expansive arguments that his predecessor used to cloak some of the most sensitive intelligence-gathering programs of the Bush White House. The first signs have come just weeks into the new administration, in a case filed by an Oregon charity [accused] of funding terrorism. President Obama's Justice Department not only sought to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that it implicated "state secrets," but also escalated the standoff -- proposing that government lawyers might take classified documents from the court's custody to keep the charity's representatives from reviewing them. The suit by the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation has proceeded further than any other in challenging the use of warrantless wiretaps, threatening to expose the inner workings of that program. In his campaign plan to "change Washington," Obama criticized the Bush administration, saying that it had "ignored public disclosure rules" and that it too often invoked the state-secrets privilege. Now, Obama's claim of state secrets has prompted criticism. "There [have] to be other ways to protect secret information without having to block accountability," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine. He said that "state secrets" has become a sort of "talismanic phrase" uttered by government officials who want to dispose of inconvenient or troubling challenges to their authority.

Note: For many reports from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.

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