About That Whole "Mistakenly Torturing You" Stuff? Yeah. Tough Luck.


Khalen Masri won't be getting his day in court.

The Supreme Court today refused to give a hearing to a German man who says he was wrongly abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA in a case of mistaken identity.

Khaled Masri sued the CIA two years ago and sought damages for his five-month ordeal in a U.S.-run prison in Afghanistan.

But Bush administration prosecutors said his lawsuit should not be heard because it could expose "state secrets," and two lower courts ordered it dismissed.

He appealed to the Supreme Court and argued that the government was using the state secrets doctrine to cover up its wrongdoing.

Without explaining their reasons, the justices said today that they would not hear his appeal in Masri vs. United States.


Masri, a car salesman, was on vacation when he was taken off a bus that had crossed the border into Macedonia. His passport was confiscated, and he was questioned for more than three weeks.

In late January 2004, Masri said he was blindfolded, taken to the airport and turned over to U.S. authorities, who flew him to a prison in Afghanistan. He says he was beaten and tortured by men who wore masks and were dressed in black.

He also says U.S. authorities would not permit him to contact the German Consulate. After several months, the CIA apparently realized it had made a mistake, and Masri was returned to Europe. But rather than return him to his home in Germany, he was dropped off at night on a hillside in Albania.

This is really shameful.

And given the rather loose criteria by which the Bush administration determines what are and aren't "state secrets," the decision to let the lower rulings stand sets a rather chilling precedent.