Help Limit the "State Secrets" Privilege

Help Limit the "State Secrets" Privilege

This is a discussion on Help Limit the "State Secrets" Privilege within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Secrecy News 01/24/08 "PRESSURE GROWS TO LIMIT THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE A rising tide of criticism of the use of the state secrets privilege to ...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array spy1's Avatar
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    Help Limit the "State Secrets" Privilege

    Secrecy News 01/24/08

    "PRESSURE GROWS TO LIMIT THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE

    A rising tide of criticism of the use of the state secrets privilege to
    derail litigation against the government has yielded new legislation
    introduced in the Senate to define the privilege and to limit its use.

    The state secrets privilege has been invoked with growing frequency to
    deflect claims of unlawful domestic surveillance, detention, and
    torture as well as other more mundane complaints, on grounds that
    adjudicating them would cause unacceptable damage to national security.

    But a new bill sponsored by Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Arlen
    Specter (R-PA) would provide a mechanism for protecting legitimate
    secrets while also permitting litigation to proceed.

    "The [proposed] Act ensures that the litigation process will not reveal
    state secrets, using many of the same safeguards that have proven
    effective in criminal cases and in litigation under the Freedom of
    Information Act," according to a description issued by Senator
    Kennedy's office. "For example, a court may limit a party's access to
    hearings, court filings, and affidavits, or require counsel to have
    appropriate security clearances."

    And crucially, "The Act clarifies that the courts, not the executive
    branch, must review the evidence and determine whether information is
    covered by the state secrets privilege."

    Senator Kennedy introduced the State Secrets Protection Act (S. 2533)
    on January 22.

    Introduction of the State Secrets Protection Act (S. 2533)

    The personal story behind the controversial 1953 Supreme Court ruling
    that established the state secrets privilege is featured, along with
    other aspects of government secrecy, in the new film "Secrecy" by Peter
    Galison and Robb Moss.

    About :: SECRECY :: Official Film Website

    The film premiered this past week at the Sundance Film Festival, where
    it was reportedly well-received. "The question of how much we should
    rely on methods inconsistent with our values is intelligently and
    elegantly handled," wrote Los Angeles Times film reviewer Kenneth
    Turan."

    ==============================

    I'm totally in favor of this legislation - if you are, too, please contact your Senators and urge them to co-sponsor/vote for the bill:

    U.S. Senate Contact Information, Congressional Listings, Phone Numbers, Addresses, 110th Congress Pete


  2. #2
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    Wow. A DC member supporting a bill introduced by Ted Kennedy. Guess I should keep my head down and watch out for flying pigs today!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Wow. A DC member supporting a bill introduced by Ted Kennedy. Guess I should keep my head down and watch out for flying pigs today!
    It is bipartisan... and probably needed IMNSHO.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I am against passage of this Bill.

    Not because Teddy "Drunk Murderer" Kennedy is for it, but because I don't want a member of the jurisprudence deciding what can be kept a "state secret" and what can't.

    Biker

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    VIP Member Array BigEFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Wow. A DC member supporting a bill introduced by Ted Kennedy. Guess I should keep my head down and watch out for flying pigs today!
    Must be as chilly in hell as it is in California today.............Wait a second............that was a bit redundant wasn't it.

    Corrrection: Be advised it is cold here in hell today!
    Lex et Libertas Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

    "Not only do the people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us deserve better, we all deserve better than to have our own security undermined by those who undermine law enforcement." -Thomas Sowell

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array sheepdog's Avatar
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    Attach Ted Kennedy's name and you automatically immediately remove my name.
    What Would Gumby Do?

  7. #7
    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerRN View Post
    I am against passage of this Bill.

    Not because Teddy "Drunk Murderer" Kennedy is for it, but because I don't want a member of the jurisprudence deciding what can be kept a "state secret" and what can't.

    Biker
    This is absolutely correct. Classified information is classified for a very good reason: national security. And the fact of the matter is that virtually all judges do not have the necessary clearances to even hear those types of cases.

    Most lay people do not understand the nature of classified information; they think the government is trying to keep something from the people. Maybe we should allow judges to determine whether we should let Katie Couric divulge troop movements on the nightly news.

    There is no way we should give judges even more power. Their power should be minimized by the elected branches of government, as the Founders intended.

    Thanks for bringing this important issue to my attention. I will be writing my Senators and urge them to vote NO. (Though one of them is too busy to do his elected job.)

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    Hmmm.....time for some asbestos underwear.

    Ain't no one would be for preservation of the "State Secrets" privilege if THEY were the ones who got kidnapped and secretly held (like that German dude who turned out to be totally uninvolved- the wrong guy).

    They just use that "privilege" to keep from having to pay damages they SHOULD pay, when they're WRONG. Label it as a "State Secret", and you don't have to produce the evidence that you did wrong.

    It's unjust, unfair and it's WRONG.

    Don't do wrong, and you don't have to worry about it. Do wrong (even unintentionally) and be man enough to step up and pay for it. Then you don't have to worry about some judge's security clearance.

    But that isn't how our government works, and it won't work that way as long as there is some easy way out like the "state secrets 'privilege'".

    It's a smokescreen to protect wrongdoing, just like Tricky Dicky used the "Executive Privilege" back in Watergate days.


    If it really is all that sensitive, "state secrets" need to be subject to the same kinds of rules in the "Classified Information Procedures Act" (I think that's what it's called). If, in a criminal prosecution, classified stuff forms the basis of the prosecution (or a defense to it), the Government gets to choose: let the stuff out, or flush the prosecution. In the civil context, the Government should either let the stuff out or be subject to judgment for not doing so. Period.

    I'll bet this gets some responses while I'm out at lunch :) (some might say I'm ALWAYS out to lunch, but that's a different topic).
    "...bad decisions that turn out well often make heroes."


    Gary D. Mitchell, A Sniper's Journey: The Truth About the Man and the Rifle, P. 103, NAL Caliber books, 2006, 1st Ed.

  9. #9
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    I am sure that there is much about this bill that we dont know about.

    I did notice two grievious things though...
    it is sponsered by Ted Kennedy and Arlan Specter...

    If they are for it, then I am against it. Past history will show that most anything that they push as being "good", is only good for enemies of the United States.

    That alone is enough for me.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    Judges should not have the power to determine what's secret and what's not. If they wanted that job, they should have studied something other than Law. Perhaps spent more time brown-nosing the dean (isn't that a prerequisite for a job in the State Department - *****-kissing/brown-nosing...).

    I'm urging my "representatives" (such as they are...) to vote NO.
    Tim
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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    If Kennedy's name is on it, it sucks.
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  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array morintp's Avatar
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    I personally think it's a good idea. The past two administrations have shown repeatedly that they can't be trusted as the sole decider of right and wrong.
    Whether it's Whitewater, Travelgate, FBIGate, Monica Lewinsky, Valerie Plame, extraordinary rendition, Halliburton, etc., these guys have shown time after time that George Orwell was right. Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. While judges may not be the answer, there has to be some way to oversee it properly.

    I realized writing that list that I could have gone on and at least tripled that list, if not more. That is pathetic. Why do we have to stand for this? Why do people blindly follow a party and overlook anything "their guy" does wrong? Everyone should be accountable for their actions, including the president.

    /rant

  13. #13
    Restricted Member Array SelfDefense's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morintp View Post
    I personally think it's a good idea. The past two administrations have shown repeatedly that they can't be trusted as the sole decider of right and wrong.
    Whether it's Whitewater, Travelgate, FBIGate, Monica Lewinsky, Valerie Plame, extraordinary rendition, Halliburton, etc., these guys have shown time after time that George Orwell was right. Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. While judges may not be the answer, there has to be some way to oversee it properly.

    I realized writing that list that I could have gone on and at least tripled that list, if not more. That is pathetic. Why do we have to stand for this? Why do people blindly follow a party and overlook anything "their guy" does wrong? Everyone should be accountable for their actions, including the president.

    /rant
    I don't mean to spoil a good rant but exactly what was classified information that was kept secret with WHitewater. If I recall correctly, Whtewater was thoroughly investigated throgh open records and depositions. All legal, none of it secret. The same can be said for every one of your examples except for what you call 'extraordinary rendition.' Haliburton? That used to be the liberal mantra when, in fact, Haliburton efficiently did the rebuilding tasks that they rightly won by contract. No secret there, either.

    Just curious, but what do you think 'their guy' (I assume you mean President Bush) did wrong and exactly why do you think he is not accountable?

    Why do you think the Administration is the sole arbiter of right and wrong? Mostly, right and wrong is obvious from a moral standpoint and we always have that pesky Constitution along with the laws of the land to help with those scenarios that might be questionable.

    There is a very good reason that classified information is classified. And, no, the people do not have a right to know.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniper58 View Post
    brown-nosing the dean (isn't that a prerequisite for a job in the State Department - *****-kissing/brown-nosing...)
    Hmm, last I checked, you all you had to do was take the foreign service exam to be eligible for employment as a Foreign Service Generalist (the bulk of the State Department). Now, if you want to be a politically appointed Ambassador, I suspect you've got to do what all political appointees do - have the right friends, or raise money for the right people... So, that covers about 1/2 of 1% of the DoS - what about the rest of us?
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  15. #15
    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    OPFOR - no offense intended to hard working, HONEST people in the State Department. That part of the Government seems to have more issues (reported/rumored) than others I hear of. Sorry if I offended :(
    Tim
    BE PREPARED - Noah didn't build the Ark when it was raining!
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
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