“Can you keep a secret?”

Secret Guarding:The new secrecy doctrine so secret you don’t even know about it.

Last Thursday, a federal court in Virginia threw out a lawsuit against the government that had been brought by a German citizen named Khalid el-Masri. El-Masri alleged that the government had violated U.S. law when—as part if its “extraordinary rendition” program—it authorized his abduction, drugging, confinement, and torture. His captors allegedly shuttled him on clandestine flights to and from places like Kabul, Baghdad, and Skopje, Macedonia, during the five months of his detention. He was released only when the government realized it had kidnapped the wrong man.

So why then was el-Masri’s lawsuit thrown out? Because the judge accepted the government’s claim that any alleged activities relating to el-Masri were “state secrets.”

Never heard of the “state secrets” privilege? You’re not alone. But the Bush administration sure has. Before Sept. 11, this obscure privilege was invoked only rarely. Since then, the administration has dramatically increased its use. According to the Washington Post, the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press reported that while the government asserted the privilege approximately 55 times in total between 1954 (the privilege was first recognized in 1953) and 2001, it’s asserted it 23 times in the four years after Sept. 11. For an administration as obsessed with secrecy as this one is, the privilege is simply proving to be too powerful a tool to pass up.

The Bush administration has fought at every turn to limit scrutiny of its conduct since Sept. 11. And, unless courts start to reject its assertion, the administration may have found in the state secrets privilege the ultimate tool for making its actions invisible.



  1. Dan says:

    If the Republicans lose the next elections we will have another Impeachment.This one will be about important issues not about B.J.s.

  2. MikA says:

    I’ve not said this anywhere before, but I have thoought it for a couple of years. George Bush 2nd scares me more than any world leader since I could understand the newspapers (45 years or so).
    Over the years I’ve been opposed to many policies in many governments but could at least believe that they were supposed to help interests that I don’t share or understand.
    I don’t like the idea of foreigners (me) dissing another countries politics (the US) but his government is messing in everyone else’s.

  3. Mike says:

    I once told a friend of mine that I would rather live in a free country where there existed the posibility of 3,000 people dying on 9/11 than to live in a police state. Judging by the look on her face, I don’t think she got the point I was trying to make. **sigh**

  4. Andrew Davis says:

    This tactic is a classic one, and you can be the government is going to shoot itself in the foot. They try to keep secrets safe by invoking a little-used provision, then invoking it again and again until it becomes glaringly obvious. Once the public begins to sense abuse—or if it occurs in an ongoing context of abuse, i.e., the NSA scandal, the boomerang effect kicks in. A counter-reaction begins to build. And that kind of attention is precisely what the government doesn’t want, I presume. The boomerange effect seems to be underway now, though it may not kick-in until the next administration. The Bush people are fools no matter how you look at what they do.

  5. John Wofford says:

    This years mid-terms are slowly becoming the turning point not only for America, but perhaps the world. If we don’t toss the rascals out then we’ll all need to buy instructional DVR’s on how to do the goose-step.

  6. Hawkeye666 says:

    “No one died because of Clinton’s lies!”

    I never thought I would live to see an administration that would make me think that Nixon wasn’t so bad after all, but without question this administration is the most offensive violation of what is supposed to be good in America. Lies, false data, secrecy, illegal abductions, imprisonment without warrant ot trial, the list goes on and on.

    I am deeply ashamed of what has happened to our country and what is being done to our citizens and the rest of the world by the neo-fascists under the GWBush regime.

    This is the darkest time in American history since the red scare of the McCarthy era, and maybe worse even than that.

  7. scottwell says:

    #3 Mike, I agree with you 100% and like you when I told a friend the same thing I got the same reaction, I have never been so disappointed in my government..all 3 branches.

  8. Fabrizio says:

    Just think about the poor guy: Not only does he get flown around the world to get tortured (yes, let’s use the word best describing what he went through), but to add insult to injury, his case gets thrown out when he tries to use democratic means (in sharp contrast to what the US gov’t did to him) to get a compensation!

    Now, I’m so glad I never took up the opportunity to move to the US and work there…
    No offence intended with the previous sentence to any US citizen, because I really feel bad for you guys who were born there and have no opportunity to move out!

    All this makes George Orwell’s “1984” more actual then ever! Back in the 80’s when I read the book, it made me think of the communist regime.
    Having visited both Russia and the US in the mean time, I must admit that nowadays in the 21st century, 1984 describes the US civilisation more then the Russian one.

    If you would have given me that particular bit of information in the early 80’s, I would never have believed you!

    🙁

    Fabrizio

  9. AB CD says:

    >we will have another Impeachment.This one will be about important >issues Lies, false data, secrecy, illegal abductions, imprisonment >without warrant ot trial, the list goes on and on.

    Yeah. Maybe then the President will get the media to report the facts.

    >“No one died because of Clinton’s lies!”
    So you believe then that Clinton was not lying when he bombed Iraq? This means you believe his statements that Saddam ahd weapons, was a dangerous threat to America who needed to be attacked?

  10. ECA says:

    It is amazing that with the advent of the internet…
    HOW many of you send letters to your congressman, or representitive??
    How about YOUR major, or govenor?

    Bitch moan and groan, and complain… SENDd it to them, its FREE.
    GET others to do the same…LET YOU be heard.. Insted of all these CORPS, fulling their pockets.

  11. Mr. H. Fusion says:

    So you believe then that Clinton was not lying when he bombed Iraq? This means you believe his statements that Saddam ahd weapons, was a dangerous threat to America who needed to be attacked?
    Comment by AB CD — 5/24/2006 @ 4:31 am

    So you are still blaming Clinton for what Bush has done. Geeze, you’re a putz !!! The thread is about a guy that was abducted and tortured by Americans. The American courts have said too bad, but Bush has truthiness.

    Wait…, it just came to me. Your wife ran off with some hillbilly named Bill. Was her name Lucille? Did you have crops in the field? Did none of the kids look like you?

    Get over it, Clinton is out of office. Clinton’s approval rating never dipped below 50%. Clinton didn’t need to cheat to win an election.


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