The Secret Life of America

Hm. This does sound like something the Senate and the courts should be looking at.

Under grilling from lawmakers and attack by lawsuits alleging Bush authorized the illegal wiretapping of Americans, the White House has invoked a legal defense known as the "state secrets" doctrine — a claim that the president has inherent and unchecked power to shield national security information from disclosure, either to plaintiffs in court or to congressional overseers.

The principle was established a half-century ago when, ruling in a wrongful-death case brought by the widows of civilians killed in a military plane crash, the Supreme Court upheld the Air Force's refusal to provide an accident report to the plaintiffs. The government contended releasing the document would compromise information about a secret mission and intelligence equipment.

And now it's used to shield... everything the executive wants, basically. Jacob Sullum was on this more than a year ago. Radley Balko noticed some "state secret" chicanery just a month ago. It'd be good to get '08 candidates on the record about this.

Headline explained here.

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  • x,y||

    Funny, I thought the headline reference was to that show on the Food Network with Mark Summers.

  • Alice Bowie||

    GW Bush wants to use the state secrets doctrine b-cause he's afraid the world might find out that he favors ball-gages, featured kittie-masks, and butt plugs....like the rest of the republican party.

  • Chester||

    "GW Bush wants to use the state secrets doctrine b-cause he's afraid the world might find out that he favors ball-gages, featured kittie-masks, and butt plugs....like the rest of the republican party."

    Wow! A Weigel groupie speaks!

  • ||

    The principle (national security) was used to hide negligence from the start.
    From that fine organization: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3145

    The case was history, or so it seemed. But after the passage of several decades, there has been an astonishing development. In 2000, Judith Palya Loether, the daughter of one of the civilian engineers, discovered on the Internet that the long-secret report had been declassified. She ordered a copy and was outraged to learn that it contained no military secrets. But there was incriminating evidence showing government negligence. According to the report, the crash was most likely caused by an engine fire. Contrary to Air Force directives, a protective shield designed to prevent engine overheating had not been installed. The report concluded: "The aircraft is not considered to have been safe for flight."

    At least we can be sure the same principle is being followed currently.

  • Guy Montag||

    Yep, right, yea. The only things presented to the Congress or to the public, ever, are things that nobody could object to.

    Yea, that's the ticket.

  • ||

    It is about time the congress and judiciary grew some testicles and challenged the Bush administration on this "state secrets" crap. Does anybody believe this administration about these security claims? Does anybody believe this administration about anything?

    Hell, if GWB said the sun came up this morning, I'd go outside to confirm.

  • ||

    Matt Welch is taking over as Reason E-in-C? Does he get the leather jacket?

  • ||

    GW Bush wants to use the state secrets doctrine b-cause he's afraid the world might find out that he favors ball-gages, featured kittie-masks, and butt plugs....like the rest of the republican party.


    I'm not sure what a "featured kittie-mask" is, but it sounds like you are saying that Republicans are perverts. Please don't. You insult the good name of perverts everywhere.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what a "featured kittie-mask" is

    I'm pretty sure it has something to do with keeping 'ginas clean. Thank god.

  • Gina||

    I don't need a kitty mask, thank you very much.

  • Reinmoose||

    I'm not sure what a "featured kittie-mask" is

    Is it maybe something like a merkin?

  • ||

    Viking Moose would know. I invoke his presence.

  • TLB||

    It'd be good to get '08 candidates on the record about this.

    Yeah, it'd be great if the MSM would do their job. However, while we're waiting for ice to form in hell, let me suggest that Reason could do a public service by suggesting to their readers that they:

    1. Go to campaign apperances.
    2. Ask real questions.
    3. Upload the response to Youtube.

    Alternatively, Reason could get behind this plan. Producing one of those in a one-step-above-PublicAccessTV-style fashion and then uploading a transcript and the video to Youtube wouldn't cost that much money, and it's something that the second-tier candidates might agree to.

    So, let's see if Reason gets behind either plan.

  • ||

    So, let's see if Reason gets behind either plan.


    Or you could, you know, promote it on your blog.

  • New World Dan||

    The state secrets defense should result in a default judgement for the plaintiffs.

  • ||

    The Senate would like to look into this, but the Council of Ten won't permit it.

  • Lord Acton||

    Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice;
    nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

  • Alice Bowie||

    It's a Mask...with cat whiskers and features

  • ||

    It's a Mask...with cat whiskers and features

    What, like furries?

  • ||

    The case was history, or so it seemed. But after the passage of several decades, there has been an astonishing development. In 2000, Judith Palya Loether, the daughter of one of the civilian engineers, discovered on the Internet that the long-secret report had been declassified. She ordered a copy and was outraged to learn that it contained no military secrets. But there was incriminating evidence showing government negligence. According to the report, the crash was most likely caused by an engine fire. Contrary to Air Force directives, a protective shield designed to prevent engine overheating had not been installed. The report concluded: "The aircraft is not considered to have been safe for flight."

    Interesting. Normally, that would be grounds under Rule 60 of the federal procedural rules to reopen the litigation, since the U.S. Govt. committed fraud on the court. I participated in a case like this years ago, where the issue was a lost government record. In that case, there was no reopening (in part) because the government archivists made an unintentional mistake. But where the government lies to the court, that's another matter altogether.

    I'm sure the courts would concoct some bullshit reason to keep the case from being reopened.

  • ||

    I agree with New World Dan. This defense is the equivalent of saying "I have an alibi, but I can't tell you what it is or my marriage will be ruined."

  • ||

    David W--
    Headlines, like jokes, should never be explained.
    You either get them or you don't.

  • TLB||

    Kwix: thanks for your valued input. I have indeed promoted it "chez mois", as well as elsewhere. However, unfortunately, I don't yet get as many visitors as Reason.

    And, there's no reason why Reason can't promote either plan. I only have to be linked as the inspiration once, and then Reason can take the idea and run with it. (If they try to put their thumb on the scale I will, of course, denounce that.)

    And, both are very good ideas that would change the presidential race as well as showing up the MSM. And, about the only valid reason not to promote either plan is due to partisan fears, the fear that the other side would use the same techniques against those on their side.

    Maybe Nick Gillespie could make either one of these his first official acts.

  • ||

    It's a Mask...with cat whiskers and features

    I had a horrifying vision after reading this. Imagine looking at this the next time your having sex.

  • ||

    Imagine looking at this the next time your having sex.

    Out of 300,000,000 Americans*, I'm sure there's someone who does.

    And enjoys it.

    *Not to mention the billions [NA usage] of other people on the net.

  • BakedPenguin||

    J sub D - you're too pessimistic, if that's the right word. Think about looking at this instead. (no nudity, but possibly NSFW)

  • ||

    Dogzilla

    I have to admit, I thought it was a reference to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

    Which I still think fits better with the item than David W's choice.

  • ||

    Mr. B. Penguin -

    Well I could go with that. Ya really think Halle Barry would hook up with me?

  • BakedPenguin||

    J sub D - If we stop trying to obtain wonderful things just because they seem impossible to reach, we might as well give up being libertarian.

  • ||

    Mr. B. Penguin -
    Damned good point.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what a "featured kittie-mask" is

    "Is it maybe something like a merkin?"

    Is it a burkha for the workin's where your gherkin should be lurkin'?

  • ||

    I'm snerkin'.

  • ||

    I really should be workin', but I guess I'm kinda shirkin'. But I'm really sleepy, so I'll set the coffee perkin'.

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