Obama Administration Invokes State Secrets To Kill Lawsuit Over Unlawful Surveillance Program

225px-official_portrait_of_barack_obama225px-george-w-bushIn yet another break with its campaign promise to fight to restore civil liberties and privacy, the Obama Administration has made a breathtaking claim of state secrets to block a public interest organization from suing the government for illegal surveillance. There is not a scintilla of difference in the legal position of President Obama and the position of President Bush in trying to quash any effort to challenge unlawful surveillance by the government. It appears the “yes we can” means “yes we can do most anything that we want” when it comes to unlawful programs. I discussed this story on this segment of MSNBC Countdown.

The Administration is moving to kill a lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of AT&T customers who were unlawfully intercepted by the government. Not only is the Administration making an extreme argument under the military and state secrets doctrine but it is claimed that citizens cannot sue, even if the government engages in unlawful surveillance, under the Patriot Act. Due to changes put through with Democratic support, the statute is being used to block any lawsuit unless the citizens can show that there was “willful disclosure’” of the communications by the government.

Congress passed the new language last summer with the support of then Sen. Obama in a complete caving into the powerful telecommunications lobby. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has been addressing the impact of this law in dozens of public interest lawsuits. At the same time, the Obama administration is invoking state secrets to try to prevent the review of evidence in the case of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation. The Administration has even threatened to remove a document from the Court after Judge Walker ruled against it — a position that exceeds even the Bush Administration.

For the government filing, click here.

For the full story, click here.

54 thoughts on “Obama Administration Invokes State Secrets To Kill Lawsuit Over Unlawful Surveillance Program

  1. Why is everyone so surprised? I’ve known about Obama’s (and people surrounding him in his Administration) involvement in a Federal/Chicago Combine corruption criminal system for years.

    I was in a family for more than 26 years who’s job when starting in this criminal system was to launder criminal money into property using Mortgage Fraud schemes. In the early 90’s the family joined with Clyde O’Connor (my ex-sister-in-law’s brother) to start a new company in Florida to Air Distribute drugs. They were busted more than 2 years ago in Mexico…

    read it here:
    Mexico drug plane used for US ‘rendition’ flights: report
    Sep 4, 2008

    Obama while working at the law firm in the 90’s according to the family assisted them with setting up their business in Florida. Plus a well known Atty while researching found that Obama owns over 130 properties which is how people are paid.

    However they remain at large to this day.

    Stanford who’s in the news is one of the friends, gee I wonder why?

    But they told me while married that the wiretapping done by the Feds and others is to help manage huge criminal activities. The Drug business around Chicago which the family is involved in is a weekly $100Million shipment. That greases a lot of palms which I know from the family includes many Politicians.

    Plus every Castle has a moat which is to protect the Castle. In this case, my town of Northbrook where the family also lives, is protected by a corrupt Police Department backed up by a corrupt city Administration. Up in McHenry Ill another family is considered the Midwests largest Drug Lord who are also protected by corrupt police and Politicans.

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

  2. Prof. Turley, I’ll be looking for your comments on Olbermann tonight. The issues raised in this case are complicated and profound.

  3. Then bring forth your evidence publicly, Marty. We’d all be interested in seeing it and if you can substantiate your claims, there is most certainly an ambitious prosecutor out there who would have no qualms about building his career on the bones of the Obama administration. Absent public proof and a trial though, your claims do nothing more than create (possibly false) implication – the veracity of which could only be determined by said discovery and trial processes.

    But none of that, if true, is relevant to the issue here. It has nothing to do with continuing a Bush policy that violates the Constitution. Echelon and Carnivore were in place long before Obama and not exactly a secret in the IT/Telecom world. The issue isn’t capability. The issue is the use/misuse of data collected this way absent judicial review. While your statements may, if true, cast shadow on the integrity of the Obama administration, it’s irrelevant to the facts surrounding the surveillance programs and their Constitutional application and massive potential for abuse if not constrained by review by FISA or another court before letting such evidence be used against U.S. citizens who are guaranteed (as in NOT NEGOTIABLE) freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

    But please, if you have sustainable proof of these criminal allegations, bring them forward to prosecutors and/or the media. I’m sure MSNBC or any of the other MSM outlets would jump at the chance to break some real news.

  4. Prof. Turley,

    Is there a way American citizens can force Eric Holder and the
    Justice Department to prosecute the people in the previous administration for breaking the law by authorizing torture?
    Where is it written in our constitution, that some people are
    exempt from the law?- and therefore, if our Justice Department
    does not unhold the law, what is the remedy for American citizens?

  5. This is horrifying to me. The bomb has been dropped. I have been waiting to see the bunch of idiots we had to live with for eight years face what they did. Now apparently It is not to be. Aaaaah politics as usual. Someone please do something before I run down the street ripping my hair out.

  6. I want to live in a Honest Society. Pray tell where shall I go? Do you think the rabbit found it?

    Even the damn wizard lied. But was the rabbit was stoned?

    Watson and Sherlock shared there shit.

    Is there a place that I can find Utopia where alls they serve is tapioca?

    Even going up that mountain had it rough moments.

    I want to live in a society that does not kill. I read a book called the bible. It had stories of murder to.

    I just wish I’d never been born to this awful cruel world.

  7. There will be multiple protests against the unlawful behavior of Obama towards the financial industry on April 11, at 2:00 p.m. It won’t hurt to bring a sign demanding prosecutions for war crimes to the same protests:

    I know this isn’t a good answer but it’s something. You can check the link below or go to your local govt. fusion center and they’ll tell who’s meeting where:) (The protests is not a joke!) Scream like hell and don’t ever back down to this corrupt govt.


  8. We all grew to expect this type of corrupt nonsense with the Bush Administration. In some ways, having Mr. Obama renege on his pledges is especially exasperating for a lifelong Republican who voted for and trusted him.

    A person’s pledges, oaths of office, and codes of ethics in today’s world are just not as honored as they once were in this once great Nation.

  9. I must say that I am saddened to be come aware of this. Yes, I will admit that I had high hopes for truth, justice and the Amercian dream…well, back to square one I guess. Prof. Turley, what can we, as Amercian citizens do? I think it is imperative to the integrity of our country to demand accountability of the former adminstration and indeed, of the present administration.
    If we don’t…what does that say about us, about the Obama administration? Corruption as usual? I feel so dismayed by this who thing. We need to stand together and demand accountability, integrity, honest and well, yes, I’ll say it…transparency from our ELECTED government officials. We pay their salaries after all. Enough is enough. I hope that we, the people, stand together and demand accountability and integrity.

  10. Ijust listened to Prof. Turley on the replay of the Olberman Countdown show and I am still trying to catch my breath. I do not have the ability to review the blog while at works, so I did not see or hear anything about this amazing claim in the instant case. We may have to rely on the judge seeing that this claim must be unconstitutional. I have to digest this claim and take another look at the filing, but at first glance, it is awful news.

  11. Prof. Turley, I try to avoid addressing you directly since I know you have more to do than respond to every exasperated blogger. But I watched you on Olbermann tonight and I’m spitting angry. This case cries out for some amicus participation. Are you aware of any prospects for that? If Pres. Obama’s aim is simply to consolidate the executive powers hijacked by his predecessor, the sense of betrayal among his supporters may well translate into a one-term presidency. Even worse, the erosion of constitutional protections against unlawful surveillance will become encapsulated in granite.

  12. Quote from the link:

    “Individual customers cannot show their messages were intercepted, and thus have no right to sue, because all such information is secret, government lawyers said. They also said disclosure of whether AT&T took part in the program would tell the nation’s enemies “which channels of communication may or may not be secure.”

    The nation’s enemies are the government’s lawyers, in this case.

  13. From the govt. filing link:



    “For the foregoing reasons, the Court should dismiss plaintiffs’ statutory claims for lack of jurisdiction, uphold the Government’s privilege assertions, enter summary judgment for the
    Government Defendants, and dismiss the case as to all defendants and all claims.”

  14. Professor Truley,
    Why I understand the need for State Secrets and the deniability thing for the President, as an American Layman Citizen I am not sure that what “We the People” are asking for pushes the theshold that the Loyal Opposition is stating.

    For why names, dates, and other information may expose the means by which America is using to obtain certain information, couldn’t the fact that the event in question happened be presented in such a manner that would protect the Individual and System, but still be of value to the Courts of the Land?

    Because why I cannot remember how certain things were handled during the Council of 12 in the 70’s, I do believe that some of the more gross violations and abuse of power need to come to the Light of Day so that future generations may learn from My Peers and Their Children how to better deal with the Issues of Privacy.

  15. posted earlier

    Former Federal LEO
    1, April 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm
    We all grew to expect this type of corrupt nonsense with the Bush Administration. In some ways, having Mr. Obama renege on his pledges is especially exasperating for a lifelong Republican who voted for and trusted him.

    A person’s pledges, oaths of office, and codes of ethics in today’s world are just not as honored as they once were in this once great Nation”This is because to start with politics was not such a lucrative business as it is now! Let me start with the very beginning of the declaration of independence.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    (Yet people use these original documents to take their creator out of everything!) (Parenthesis are my words)

    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, (from the consent..we must consent..we gave up our consent)
    That whenever any Form of Gove Parenthesisrnment becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. “
    (Please read the full declaration and see if it does nor remind you of every politician currently in office when they refer to the king. http://www.thisnation.com/library/declaration.html
    Politicians should be here to serve us not get rich. The job pays entirely too much. If it paid less the people applying might actually care about us instead of satisfying big money. On that note I can’t believe anyone is actually surprised that Obama is going against his campaign promises”let me be clear on this.” He was craw fishing before he ever even made it to office. He like every other big player in politics said whatever we wanted to hear to get the big check. And they will keep doing so as long as we let them. )

  16. i think it’s important that the media report on issues such as these and we the people encourage the media to do so. The poeple must hold politians accountable to their word and demand that the media is relentless in their pursuit of the truth. Support groups that are fighting the fight and get involved. I am outraged by this abuse of power to blatantly take away the peoples rights of privacy. My next action will be to contact the ACLU and the American Freedom Campaign to see what i can do, i suggest everyone to make some effort to do something to inspire others to make a difference.

  17. FFLEO,

    “They also said disclosure of whether AT&T took part in the program would tell the nation’s enemies “which channels of communication may or may not be secure.”
    The nation’s enemies are the government’s lawyers, in this case.”

    What you said is true but what I find most contemptable is this: It’s obvious that the govt. considers the people of the US to be its enemies. We all now know (including terrorists) that AT&T, along with every other communications carrier/devise is routing our most routine communication to the govt. That bush and now obama see fit to make our own population their enemy is the mark of dictators, not democratic leaders.

    I think sending money to ACLU and EFF is a good idea because they don’t care who’s in power. If the person in power is “doing bad things” (to quote JT in his excellent anaylsis) then these groups, and some others, are going after them. I have real hope this judge will tell them to put their request where the sun don’t shine.

  18. Oh, good, I am glad that I reread your post. I first read it on my phone and had LSU confused with ACLU thank god.

  19. When I met Barack Obama at a fundraising event in D.C. during the campaign, I thanked him for giving back what was taken from us in 1963. That sentiment is dead as of Tuesday, April 7th, after learning of Obama’s effort to quash any challenge to the unlawful surveillance by the government.

    Obama has destroyed my belief in his promise to take back our country, his promise of ensuring full accountability with regard to the demeaning and humiliating practices of the Bush administration, and his promise of “Yes, We Can.” First, I believed that even though he selected Geithner and Summers as his financial gurus, Obama was going to surprise us with his “secret goal” and do the right thing by the people. Not so. Yet, I still believed Obama would never let the Bush administration get away with destroying the people’s basic rights under the Constitution and robbing us of our dignity day-in and day-out for eight years. Not so. Instead of giving us the “Hope” he promised, Obama is proving that we were just pawns to be used for his ultimate glory–becoming President of the United States. Obama is proving to be as honest and compassionate as George W. Bush. I could not be more disappointed, disillusioned, and depressed than I am with this pretty young man who is slowly being unmasked and is looking more and more like W. God help us.

  20. I have read the motion and memorandum of law (but not the cited cases). The government’s position may well be correct with respect to its interpretation of the statutory language. If that is the case, it means that Congress has adopted a statutory scheme which accomplishes the following:
    1. The government can engage in whatever form of surveillance it wishes against anyone for any purpose without hindrance.
    2. A claim for relief is available only if the content of the surveillance is unlawfully disclosed, whatever that means.
    3. The relief is available only against the individual(s) making the disclosure.
    4. The pleadings alleging the claim must be fact specific.
    5. Evidence to support the claim is not subject to disclosure if state secrets are involved.
    In essence, Congress has created a situation in which the government can violate constitutional rights at will and avoid any responsibility for its actions through invoking what is actually a civil version of the privilege against self-incrimination. It might just as well have passed a statute providing that if I violate your constitutional rights and you find out about it, I am authorized to kill you. I predict that the plaintiffs will lose unless the statutory scheme is found to be unconstitutional.

  21. Mike A,

    One more thing. You’re forgetting the fact that States set the ceiling on rights while the Fed sets the floor.

    NYS Constitution:

    [Security against unreasonable searches, seizures and interceptions]

    §12. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable interception of telephone and telegraph communications shall not be violated, and ex parte orders or warrants shall issue only upon oath or affirmation that there is reasonable ground to believe that evidence of crime may be thus obtained, and identifying the particular means of communication, and particularly describing the person or persons whose communications are to be intercepted and the purpose thereof. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

    Care to tell me how congress was given the power to decrease the rights protected within a State Constitution?

  22. Bob, good points and thanks for the John Dean cite. I feel a bit more hopeful. But now I am curious as to why state constitutional protections have not been alleged by the ACLU in the Jewel case.

  23. Thank you for speaking out about these important, underreported issues. The lack of media attention to what you accurately described as a “breathtaking claim” reminds me of the frog being boiled slowly or or the REM song: “it’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine.”

    Your comment that “what he’s frittering away are the rights we have as citizens” sums up the stakes nicely, but the fact that so few people seem concerned about this extremist position brings to mind Franklin’s remark that “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither.”

    (By the way, Greenwald links to a youtube of your Countdown comments last night which is linked at my sig.)

  24. Thank you Rafflaw and Mike Appleton…!!!

    Exactly my point back on February 9 when I posted with respect to existing cases and the known long standing tradition at DOJ not to interfere with ongoing prosecutions. It’s already in the hands of the judiciary.

    There are also actions Congress has taken which need to be undone as well. It’s not possible to proceed as if these things do not exist. We are not dealing with a clean slate, as it were.

  25. Mike,

    “But now I am curious as to why state constitutional protections have not been alleged by the ACLU in the Jewel case.”

    I think the answer is more psychological and sociological than legal. Force of habit if you will.

    As Chief Judge Kaye put it:

    (in media res)

    “At the same time-and expressing dissatisfaction with many state courts’ discharge of their “front-line responsibility for the enforcement of constitutional rights”[26]-the Supreme Court began actively widening and raising the federal floor. Individual rights became increasingly federalized. The broadening application of provisions of the federal Bill of Rights to the states “made U.S. Supreme Court law the touchstone for much of the nation’s constitutional decision making, concerning individual rights.[27] These are the years in which many of us received our professional education and training. As lawyers, we have acquired an easy familiarity with the federal Bill of Rights and have grown accustomed to controlling federal precedents in the adjudication of constitutional rights of the citizens of this State, even though this is in fact a relatively new development in our nation’s history.

    In our dual system, the Supreme Court’s growing dominance necessarily affected constitutional law as applied by state courts. While state courts have at all times been important contributors to the body of constitutional law, they too became involved in the application of federal law. So long as the federal floor, or national minimum, was satisfied, state courts could have imposed ceilings in the form of greater rights applicable within their own borders under their own constitutions, and these judgments would then have been conclusive, beyond Supreme Court review.[28] BUT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, the federal guarantees as then interpreted by the Supreme Court in general not only satisfied but often exceeded their view of the requirements of comparable state provisions.”


  26. I hope the court will slap down this divine right of kings. I think David, you are correct to point out JT’s statement about our rights being frittered away. In many ways the fourth amendment protects some of the most important rights enshrined in our Constitution. Withdraw of it’s protections makes the right to free speech vunerable to govt. punishment. There’s a lot the govt. can do to a person to let them know they better not say anything they’re not supposed to say. Making it legal to spy on those who might object to something the govt. is doing is an excellent tool for ending free speech and free association. Knowing that at any time the govt. may seize your property and your person is frightening. It does send a chill to criticism of the govt. It shuts down reporting and it shuts up the people. That is one reason why this law should be ruled illegal immediately. Others, have been pointed out ably above.

  27. The Electronic Frontier is a party to the lawsuit against the DOJ. Here is their reading of the govt.’s position. They plan to go to the mat fighting this one:

    “Sad as that is, it’s the Department Of Justice’s second argument that is the most pernicious. The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying — that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.

    This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one — not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration — has ever interpreted the law this way.

    Previously, the Bush Administration has argued that the U.S. possesses “sovereign immunity” from suit for conducting electronic surveillance that violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). However, FISA is only one of several laws that restrict the government’s ability to wiretap. The Obama Administration goes two steps further than Bush did, and claims that the US PATRIOT Act also renders the U.S. immune from suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws: the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. Essentially, the Obama Adminstration has claimed that the government cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes.”

  28. Hey why don’t we all get AT&T and then that way the govt can listen to all of our conversations at once.

  29. I was wondering if someone could explain something to me. A couple of sources I’ve seen on this have referred to “willful disclosure” as opposed to “intentional disclosure” and suggested the former is a higher standard than the latter, i.e., would be harder for the plaintiffs to show.

    Is there a difference, and if so, could someone explain to me what it is?

    It also appears to me, as best as I understand it, that any such “willful disclosure” would have to be other than what is authorized – which, if I’m right, would mean the government could do more than just gather information, it could pass on such illegally-gathered information to other law enforcement agencies, including foreign ones, without committing such “willful disclosure” as would allow for a suit.

  30. Your legal system is busted. For the system cannot protect the people who are essentially the indentured slaves. the slaves don’t have any rights under the system of oligopoly. the people that own you do what they believe is in your good interest; after their interests are served.
    If the executive branch of the government had to have state secret immunity, they had to have told the congress and made a case for it as it is required practice. They did not and that means they don’t have the right for state secret immunity. comprendi ?

  31. LarryE,

    I have to let the lawyers address the first part of your question but as to the intelligence sharing I do have some information. The ACLU has written DHS because they are “sharing, just like they learned in kindergarten” illegally collected information, to include having the temerity to work for a third party candidate (that says something) in the fusions centers. The fusion centers are then putting people whose only crime was to speak freely or associate with people of their choice on the terrorism list.

    As to foreign intelligence services–James Bamford claims most of the info being swept up is processed by Israel and distributed pretty much willy-nilly to anyone who pays for it.

  32. The other thing that is creeping me out is how this and the story of how our govt. engaged in torture has disappeared off NPR. It used to be that Diane Rehm or TOTN would pick up on important stories like these–no more.

    Yesterday and this A.M. on the “news” segment I heard two stories:
    1. China and Russia have broken into our power grid for the purpose of terrorism
    2. Those pirates in Somalia–we need a ground force to clean them out

    Neither of these stories hung together in a rational way but they are most certainly being hyped.

    So two extremely important issues that deserve indepth discussion are wiped off the map, replaced by two rather “shaky” stories that will be discussed. Something is very wrong here. I have noticed an increasingly managed news coming from NPR and other outlets. This trend is a great concern to me.

  33. This is not good news. No rights are really rights if their only guarantee is the promise of the executive. It is from the CCR:

    “WASHINGTON – April 8 – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in Kiyemba v. Obama. The Court vacated the district court decision, which had required the government to give thirty days advance notice before an individual is transferred from Guantánamo. The Court held that it could not test the Executive’s promise not to transfer someone to a country where he could be tortured.

    In response, Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Emi MacLean, issued the following statement:

    For the past four and a half years, approximately sixty men imprisoned in Guantánamo have relied upon the U.S. federal courts to protect them from the military transferring them to a country where they are likely to be tortured. Today, the court has abdicated its role in safeguarding individuals in U.S. custody from transfers to torture.

    Egregiously, the court has done so based upon nothing more than the Executive’s promise not to send an individual to a place where he will be tortured. In the long ugly history of U.S. detention at Guantánamo, the Executive has made repeated hollow promises that “we do not torture.” “Trust the President” is not enough in 2009 to prevent U.S. complicity in torture and to protect an individual’s rights.”

  34. Oh yes, what a tangled web is being woven and of course it is deliberate in order to keep the majority completely out of the loop and unaware. I, too, have been concerned with the lack of legal action toward the previous administration, even in light of all of the apparent evidence to date. All we’ve seen from the current administration are word exchanges with Cheney. I find that quite interesting and began to see how that may all be staged. I’ve also been wondering how all of what is happening now is directly connected with 9/11. I think there are a lot of interesting threads that connect here. Yes, it all makes for quite a great spy film or a John Grisom novel. Like in The Firm, how he was wined and dined (the bait and trap technique) and before he knew it…Wham…they had him just where they wanted him…or so they thought. Yes, I find it quite interesting that a story would appear about China and/or Russia breaking into our power grid and then dissappear. Wouldn’t you think the elected leader would come forth and say Yea or Nay? It’s obviously all fear tactics designed to keep the average citizen right where they want them…in apathy, grief, and fear because it is so much easier to control the masses when they are trying to survive. Gosh, seems a bit more familiar right now doesn’t it? This tactic has been used for a very long time. Religion being a huge one to do so. Oh, yes, you’ll go to heaven as long as you are a good little boy or girl…now remember, don’t make the chief angry or you could be tormented forever. Hmmmm…
    And isn’t it interesting how Cheney frequently states that there were no further “terrorist attacks” after 9/11. What I find interesting is that there was one at all, given the military capability this country has. I’ve been reviewing the 9/11 Mysteries video and just found The Ring of Power videos.
    And with Obama invoking state secrets…well, people, instead of the promised transparency, we have a smoke screen. There are many threads that make up the web.

  35. Everyone is going to be thoroughly surprised to learn who all was behind 911. This was State Sponsored Terrorism and there were planning it for a long time. I heard about it from the family back in 1996 only then there were reviewing three different sites with The Twin Towers being one of them. Plus this isn’t the end of it as there is a lot more too.

    Marty Didier
    Northbrook, IL

  36. Pardon me for repeating the obvious, but

    This is the big story of the week.

    Ah denial…

    it’s not just a river in Egypt anymore.

  37. I agree Bob. I hate to see it knocked out by a pirate story which fails to mention that the boat is connected to the Pentagon–nothing to see here, move along.

    I want to link to one more story in a very long list of lawless acts committed by the obama administration. (from TPM)

    “Not Just State Secrets: Obama Continuing Bush’s Stonewalling On Gitmo Cases, Lawyer Claims
    By Zachary Roth – April 10, 2009, 3:43PM

    Yesterday we told you about the Obama Justice Department’s invocation of a sweeping state secrets privilege in a warrantless wiretapping case. But that may not be the only area in which the new administration’s war on terror tactics recall the worst excesses of the Bush years.

    Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantanamo had the right to appeal their detentions in federal courts. But since then, only a few cases have been completed. And in an interview with TPMmuckraker, David Cynamon — a lawyer for four Kuwaiti Gitmo detainees who are bringing habeas corpus claims against the government — said that the Justice Department has been consistently dragging its heels in the case, denying detainees their basic due process rights and furthering what he called the “abandonment of the rule of law.”

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