Friday, May 19, 2006

Protecting "Secrets" that aren't; or how claims of "state secrets" further erode America's reputation as a nation under law

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit by Man Held in Terror Program - New York Times: "Judge T. S. Ellis 3d ruled in favor of the Bush administration, which had argued that the 'state secrets' privilege provided an absolute bar to the lawsuit against a former C.I.A. director and transportation companies. Judge Ellis said the suit's going forward, even if the government denied the contentions, would risk an exposure of state secrets.

The case involves Khaled el-Masri, a Kuwaiti-born German, who was arrested on Dec. 31, 2003, in Macedonia, where he had gone for a vacation. From there, he was flown to a prison in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was held for five months before being released. During his incarceration in Kabul, he has said, he was shackled, beaten and injected with drugs.

United States officials have acknowledged the principal elements of Mr. Masri's account, saying intelligence authorities may have confused him with an operative of Al Qaeda with a similar name. The officials also said he was released in May 2004 on the direct orders of Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, after she learned he had been mistakenly identified as a terrorism suspect."

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