Friday, September 25, 2009

Holder: No More State Secrets Privilege, Unless...

WASHINGTON - APRIL 22:  U.S. Attorney General ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Invoking the State Secrets Privilege, a favorite mechanism of the Bush Adminstration to derail lawsuits challenging torture and warrantless wiretapping practices, has been consigned to "in case of emergency, break glass" status by the Obama Administration, and if used, will be employed narrowly, Attorney General Eric Holder promised yesterday.

The AG's office issued a memorandum this week to federal agency and executive department heads advising that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not defend assertions of the privilege if used to conceal violations of the law, inefficiency or administrative error; to prevent embarrassment to a person, organization or agency of the U.S. government; restrain competition; or prevent or delay release of information that would not reasonably be expected to cause harm to national security. Conversely, the DOJ will invoke the privilege in matters in which unauthorzied disclosure of information could cause significant harm to national security or foreign relations.
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1 comment:

  1. It is a policy of the administration or the Department of Justice? Someone has to accuse the government of abusing the State Secrets Privilege before the DOJ can defend or negate it. The latter would require a great deal of independence from the administration in order to be effective.