The inherent tension between the state secrets privilege and the rule of law reached the breaking point last week when an appeals court dismissed the claims of several persons who said they were illegally transported and tortured through a CIA “extraordinary rendition” program. They would not be permitted to litigate their case, the court decided, because to do so would place “state secrets” at risk.
“This case presents a painful conflict between human rights and national security,” the 9th circuit court of appeals noted in its September 8 opinion (pdf) in Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, and by a 6-5 majority the judges determined that security considerations would take precedence.
Phi Beta Iota: We recommend the full editorial commentary by Steve Aftergood. This puts the USA on a level with the Guatemalan era of genocide against the indigenous, the “patriotic wars” in which “anything goes.”