Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When is a State Secret not a State Secret?

The Chicago Tribune is carrying an article about five ex-prisoners of the CIA suing a subcontractor of the agency. The subcontractor is accused of abuse for flying the former prisoners to CIA interrogation sites, primarily "black" sites.

The decision to allow the suit to go forward came from the US 9th Circuit, which is known to be liberal in its interpretation of the law. It was a three judge panel, not the entire bench for the court, that made the decision. Basically, the government was told that it could not stop the trial by claiming that everything to be discussed was a state secret.

I don't think this is over. The DOJ lawyers are reviewing the decision, natch. They may come back with a new appeal to the full bench of the 9th Circuit, and if they lose they may decide that Supreme attention is warranted. We'll see. In any case, the ACLU wins on this one, and the possibility of this country's actions conforming to its public principles in times of war and discord may yet come true.

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