Monday, April 27, 2009

Do the Torture Memos Undermine the Administration's State Secrets Claim?

The ACLU filed a letter with the Ninth Circuit arguing that the recently released torture memos undermine the administration's state secrets claim in the case challenging the Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program, Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan.

The ACLU argues that the release of the memos leaves no secrets in the case.  But this wouldn't be the first time that the government argued state secrets when the program at issue had already been revealed; here's my post on the Obama administration's (re)invocation of the privilege in the NSA "dragnet surveillance" case in the Northern District of California.

And moreover: We don't know fully what other secrets--other than the torture techniques revealed in the memos--might have been involved in the rendition program.  There very well might be other things that the government wants to keep quiet.

The Obama administration's response to the letter may give us one more clue as to how serious the administration is in reevaluating its use of the state secrets privilege.


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