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.