The Bush administration has repeatedly invoked the state secrets privilege, a doctrine that was adopted in the McCarthy era, that was originally meant to be used only in exceptional circumstances. Since 2001, however, the Bush Administration has repeatedly abused the privilege in attempts to cover up potentially embarrassing or illegal activities in cases involving warrantless wiretapping and other aspects of the NSA's domestic spy program, kidnapping, aka 'extraordinary rendition', and torture, just to name a few. They have relied on it not only to silence critics and whistleblowers, but also to use it as a shield to go after them like they have to James Risen, Sibel Edmonds and many others. Just this week it's come out that they once again have invoked it in an attempt to keep the details hidden in the case against Thomas Kontogiannis, one of the convicted bribers of Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, where the executive branch has asserted that once they deem something classified, the "courts are virtually powerless to review or disagree."
It's way past time Congress steps in to put a stop to it.
Now, Congress may finally be ready to act to rein in these abuses. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider S.2533, the State Secrets Protection Act, which would bring much needed judicial supervision that could help eliminate bogus state secrets claims, while carefully protecting legitimate interests in national security.
If one of your Senators is on the Judiciary Committee (see below), then you're uniquely positioned to encourage the Committee to approve this legislation and make a real difference in fighting government secrecy! Contact them now and tell them to support the State Secrets Protection Act.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Delaware) Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Maryland) Sen. Tom A. Coburn (R-Oklahoma) Sen. John Cornyn III (R-Texas) Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Illinois) Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wisconsin) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-South Carolina) Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) Sen. Jeff B. Sessions III (R-Alabama) Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island)