Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on State Secrets

The Obama administration maintained course on the Bush administration claims of state secrets in Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a closely watched case at the Ninth Circuit.  The NYT reports here

The case involves an Ethiopian's claims against a Boeing subsidiary for its role in the Bush administration extraordinary rendition program.  The Bush administration pressed for dismissal, arguing (rather ambitiously) that the state secret doctrine prevented the case from going forward, particularly: that any discussion of the case in court would threaten national security. 

There was widespread anticipation that the Obama administration would change course, especially given the administration's stated emphasis on government openness and AG Holder's commitment to review every pending case in which the Bush administration asserted state secrets.  (See here.) 

But it didn't. 

Instead, a lawyer representing the administration told the panel that the administration would maintain the Bush administration position--a decision "thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration."

Case documents are here (many thanks to the ACLU).  I'll update with developments.


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