Good Question. What DID Happen to that Promised State Secrets Policy?

As I mentioned above, I’ve been prepping for a panel on Saturday on torture. And so I’ve been reviewing all the things DOJ promised us in mid June or early July that they still haven’t delivered on: The OPR Report, the torture investigation, and–as Daphne Eviatar points out–the new State Secrets policy.

As I reported almost two months ago, Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 17 that he would issue a new policy on when the government will invoke the state secrets privilege to conceal evidence from the public — and even from federal court judges — “in a matter of days.”

Well, it’s August, and still nothing. After Ed asked me the question, I followed up with Dean Boyd, spokesman for the Justice Department’s national security division, asking him if that policy had ever been issued. After all, maybe we’d just missed it.

Boyd’s response:  “Not yet; still in the works.”

Presumably, DOJ is trying its luck with some of the State Secrets claims outstanding, such as the Jeppesen claim that the 9th will almost certainly sustain (meaning State Secrets can only be applied to evidence and not information generally). 

And presumably DOJ figures that, with SJC occupied until recently with the Sotomayor confirmation, no one would notice.

In case anyone is wondering, Daphne and I have both officially noticed.

9 replies
  1. Mary says:

    The Binyam Mohamed and Jeppesen and al Haramain etc. are all making it very difficult for them to issue a normal, non-criminally based, state secrets policy (BTW- I sure hope in the EFF cases that all the telecoms, amnesty or no, have solid lit holds on document destruction dating back to when the suits were intiated, bc one consequence of amnesty if they do end up with it is that they may have to produce thinga that would, if not destroyed, but pretty interesting and the depositions as well should be something.)

    In any event, if they come out now with an official states secrets policy that says criminal acts, for example, cannot be covered up – what kind of judicial notice will the UK (or German or Spanish or Italian) courts take of that in deciding what to release on their end?

    I’m guessing we see something that allows for the states secrets invocations for criminal acts done in conspiracy with, or criminal acts performed by proxy by, foreign interests, as a “diplomatic” power.

    They won’t want Johnsen around for any of this. Lucky them – she’s willing to dangle perpetually as their bright shiney.

    • bmaz says:

      By the way, the dismissed plaintiffs, those represented by EFF and otherwise, all just filed a combined notice of appeal from Walker’s order of dismissal.

  2. Peterr says:

    I wonder how the vacancy at OLC relates to this.

    If Holder said he would issue a new policy on State Secrets anticipating that Dawn Johnsen as the new OLC head would take the lead on this, we could be waiting for a long time.

    OTOH, the combination of the Holder DOJ and Obama WH fighting FOR the BushCo states secrets policy while NOT fighting for Dawn’s confirmation could be two interrelated pieces of the same policy mindset.

    Sadly, I’m leaning toward the latter more than the former.

  3. acquarius74 says:

    Ms. Voter awakens with the dawn; PO turns to her and asks, “uh, what did I promise you last night?”

  4. hate2haggle says:

    EW, should you find yourself on Interstate 79 on your journey to Pittsburgh, beep at Exits 147A & 147B and I’ll know you’re safe. Should you need shelter or coffee or anything around that time, beep 3 times and I’ll come to help. Have fun in Pittsburgh.

  5. fatster says:

    Way O/T: For the car people

    GM says new Volt to get 230 mpg in city driving
    Chevy Volt, powered by battery and gasoline engine, to get 230 mpg in city; due out late ‘10

    By Kimberly S. Johnson and Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers
    On Tuesday August 11, 2009, 9:27 am EDT

    WARREN, Mich. (AP) — “General Motors Corp. said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car should get 230 miles per gallon of gasoline in city driving, more than four times the mileage of the current champion, the Toyota Prius.

    “The Volt is powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a 40-mile range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles. The battery pack can be recharged from a standard home outlet.”


    • Jesterfox says:

      Doesn’t that mean that you’re mostly powered by coal (electricity)? How many miles per ton of coal do you get?

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