By Andrew Zajac Washington Bureau
The Bush administration is aggressively wielding a rarely used executive power known as the state secrets privilege in an attempt to squash hard-hitting court challenges to its anti-terrorism campaign.How the White House is using this privilege, not a law but a series of legal precedents built on national security, disturbs some civil libertarians and open-government advocates because of its sweeping power. Judges almost never challenge the government's assertion of the privilege, and it can be fatal to a plaintiff's case.
The government is invoking the privilege in an attempt to wipe out the heart of a lawsuit that seeks to examine rendition, the secretive and controversial practice of sending terror suspects to foreign countries where they might be tortured. Use of the secrets privilege also could eliminate a suit by a former FBI contract linguist who charges that the bureau bungled translations of terrorism intelligence before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. read on
secretive, guess again. (hat tip jvh)