It's a very interesting read.
A sharply divided federal appeals court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit involving the Central Intelligence Agency’s practice of seizing terrorism suspects and transferring them to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. The ruling handed a major victory to the Obama administration in its effort to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy power.
By a six-to-five vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, reversing an earlier decision, dismissed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary accused of arranging flights for the C.I.A.’s “extraordinary rendition” program, as it is known. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the case on behalf of five former prisoners who say they were tortured because of the program – and that Jeppesen was complicit in their treatment.
Judge Raymond C. Fisher described the case as presenting “a painful conflict between human rights and national security.” But, he said, the majority had “reluctantly” concluded that the lawsuit represented “a rare case” in which the government’s need to protect state secrets trumped the plaintiffs’ need to have any day in court.
I came away thinking Justice Fisher knew full well how poorly the victims were treated, and how they certainly deserve something, but in the name of national security he sided with the government.
The details of the case are appalling for sure, but what's more disturbing to me is how the "States Secret Privilege" came to be in the first place.
According to the NYTIMES:
Leading Democratic lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have filed bills that would restrict how the privilege could be used. The Obama administration has not taken a position on those bills, but the new policy, which is intended to rein in use of the privilege by erecting greater internal checks and balances against abuse, could blunt momentum in Congress to pass legislation.This is how the act came about, and even then, at a time when our government was seemingly more responsible, it pushed for a law which was unnecessary at the time.
The leading Supreme Court decision on state secrets is United States v. Reynolds, which grew out of the crash in Georgia in 1948 of a B-29 bomber on a secret mission. Nine men died, and the widows of three of them sued the government for negligence.
The central document in the case was the Air Force's accident report. The government refused to turn it over, saying that disclosure of the report, even to a judge, would endanger national security by revealing military secrets. When the report was ultimately released in 1996, it contained no secrets at all but did show appalling negligence.
Now granted, there could be a situation in which the law was needed at another time, but in the moment it basically stonewalled those seeking redress.
If they were this dishonest then, you can only imagine how dishonest they are today.