Secrets & Suits

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The Chicago Tribune reports:

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 whole story, worth reading in full, is here. Among the threatened cases: a suit over "extraordinary rendition"—the practice of outsourcing interrogations to countries that torture—and 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."

Meanwhile, The New York Times gives the outsourced-torture story front-page attention here.

[Via Direland.]