Saturday, May 30, 2009

Analysis: Secrets and 'Need to Know'

Lyle Denniston writes on the SCOTUS Blog:

The Justice Department, facing an impatient federal judge’s threat to rule summarily that the federal government has engaged in illegal electronic wiretrapping on a Muslim organization within the U.S., asked the judge Friday night to issue a direct order to disclose secret data over the government’s objections that would then set the stage for an appeal on issues “of extraordinary constitutional significance.”

Among those issues is whether a court has any authority to order disclosure of “state secrets” for use by a private party in a damages lawsuit, whether a law allowing such damages lawsuits overrides the government’s claim of a “state secrets” privilege against disclosing classified information, and whether a judge, not the government, can decide what a private party “needs to know” from secret government data for use in a lawsuit.

More here.


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