Opaque Nation: “Secrets” Trump Justice

The Supreme Court today refused to hear the appeal of Khaled el-Masri who was seeking to overturn the trial court’s dismissal of his lawsuit. Through his lawsuit, el-Masri was seeking redress for being kidnapped by the CIA, spirited away and tortured in Afghanistan. His abduction was the result of mistaken identity.

The trial court and Circuit Court of Appeal found the dismissal of el-Masri’s suit to be justified by the State Secrets privilege. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case was not accompanied by an opinion or any explanation.

A complete dismissal of the case, rather than prohibiting the use as evidence of any true secrets, saves the Bush administration from having to admit its criminal acts toward el-Masri and keeps the door closed for all the other potential el-Masris out there.

We got a taste earlier today of how the Bush administration will leak secrets to America’s detriment when politically convenient to them. This is the other side of the coin. Bush has repeatedly used confidentiality not to protect America, but to protect his administration from scrutiny for its misdeeds and to hide politically inconvenient truths.

Kevin Drum has more detail on the abuse of the State Secrets privilege by the Bush administration.

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