9th Circuit to Jeffrey White: Get Back to Work on EFF FOIA

The 9th Circuit wrote a really fascinating opinion in the EFF FOIA. The Circuit was dealing with three questions regarding EFF’s FOIA of the documents pertaining to telecom lobbying leading up to the passage of PAA and FAA. Those three questions are:

  • Whether FOIA Exemption 3 (protection of sources and methods) applies
  • Whether FOIA Exemption 6 (privacy) applies to contractors who lobby
  • Whether FOIA Exemption 5 (intra- and inter-agency communications) applies

While there’s a lot of nuance in this decision (and it’ll take a review of the actual Vaughn Indices to see what will definitely get released), the most exciting part of this ruling is the Circuit Court’s ruling that the government can’t protect the identities of the telecoms that lobbied for a Get Out of Jail Free Card, just because they needed one.

FOIA Exemption 3: Remand because EFF Was Confused

As to the question of whether the names of the telecoms should be protected as sources and methods and/or as a functional part of NSA, the Circuit didn’t decide. Rather, it argued there was confusion regarding whether or not EFF had ceded this issue, and as a result, District Court Judge White had not addressed the issue of whether this should be protected.

Under these statutes and Exemption 3, the government’s summary judgment brief argued, “ODNI and DOJ withheld information that could reveal whether any particular telecommunications carrier has assisted, or may in the future assist, the government with intelligence activities.” The government claimed disclosure “could deter telecommunications companies from assisting the government in the future,” and disclosure “provides our adversaries with valuable information about our intelligence sources, methods, and capabilities.”

[4] The government’s argument was predicated on the following inference: Revealing the identity of carriers and their agents working for a carrier liability shield would allow foreign intelligence agents to determine contours of NSA intelligence operations, sources, and methods. In other words, knowledge of which firms were and were not lobbying for liability protection could lead to inferences regarding the firms that participate in the surveillance program. EFF disputes the propriety of this inference. However, because the district court did not address Exemption 3 due to confusion in the parties’ summary judgment briefing, we remand for the district court to address these claims in the first instance.

This decision says nothing about whether White will rule in EFF’s favor or not. But heck, I’ll take that second bite at this apple.

FOIA Exemption 6: The Public has a Compelling Interest

This decision is, by far, the most interesting part of the opinion to me. Mind you, the Circuit was not determining whether or not contractors’ identities could be protected. Rather, it was determining whether lobbyists’ identities could be protected, even if it would be easy to assume those lobbyists were in fact contractors.

And the Circuit Court said that, whatever privacy protection the lobbyist-contractors might have, the public’s interest in knowing who was lobbying for legislation was more important.

We next consider “whether release of the information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of that person’s privacy.” Wash. Post Co., 456 U.S. at 602. “[T]o determine whether a record is properly withheld, we must balance the privacy interest protected by the exemptions against the public interest in government openness that would be served by disclosure.” Lahr, 569 F.3d at 973.

The district court concluded “that there is some, although not a substantial, privacy interest in the withheld documents indicating the identities of the private individuals and entities who communicated with the ODNI and DOJ in connection with the FISA amendments.” It found, however, “that the public interest in an informed citizenry weighs in favor of disclosure” because “there is a strong public interest in disclosure of the identity of the individuals who contacted the government . . . to protect telecommunications companies from legal liability for their role in government surveillance activities.” We agree.

[snip]

[10] There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence. As the Supreme Court has explained, “[o]fficial information that sheds light on an agency’s performance of its statutory duties” merits disclosure. Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 773.

[11] With knowledge of the lobbyists’ identities, the public will be able to determine how the Executive Branch used advice from particular individuals and corporations in reaching its own policy decisions. Such information will allow the public to draw inferences comparing the various agents’ influence in relation to each other and compared to the agents’ or their corporate sponsors’ political activity and contributions to either the President or key members of Congress. In short, we find the public interest in “government openness that would be served by disclosure” of how the government makes decisions potentially shielding firms lobbying (and donating to campaigns) from nine-figure liabilities to be plainly important.

As a sop to the government–which was trying to hide all this information–the Circuit Court ruled that the government did not have to make the email addresses for the individuals involved public.

Big whoop. We won’t be able to email the executives who got their Get Out of Jail Free Card. I plan on emailing Ed Whitacre–former CEO of AT&T when they were doing this lobbying and currently CEO of GM–at his new GM email, anyway.

FOIA Exemption 5: The Government Cheated

In general, the Court found that White had too broadly claimed that the documents in question did not qualify for Exemption 5, agreeing that the government had shown that much of this was intra- or inter-agency communication. For those materials, the Court said the government would then have to go back and claim some privilege (such as deliberative privilege) to keep the documents hidden.

But the Court’s more general ruling was that White hadn’t looked closely enough at the Vaughn Index (and that he might have to look at the documents themselves). To justify that point, the Court cites this very amusing example.

Examining the Vaughn indices themselves shows the importance of engaging in the admittedly time-consuming analysis not performed here. Nearly all of the characterizations in the government-offered declarations comport with the descriptions in the Vaughn indices of inter-branch or intrabranch communications. Thus, for these emails, the district court should have more closely examined the documents to determine whether they were in fact inter-agency or intraagency memorandums or letters. Including them in a broad disclosure order was error under any standard.

In addition, in at least two instances (OLC Vaughn Index numbers 46 & 74), the plain language of the declaration seems to imply an intra-Executive Branch email when, in fact, the Vaughn Index makes clear the communications at issue were between the Executive Branch and telecommunications company representatives. This highlights the need for a fact specific inquiry under Exemption 5.

That is, to justify its ruling that Judge White needs to go back and look more closely at the Vaughn index and individual documents, the Court agrees that most of the documents are claimed to be intra- or inter-agency documents. But then points to an example where the government claimed emails between the Executive Branch and telecoms was intra- or inter-agency.

Busted.

Now, before any of these get released, I think the District Court will need to sort which exemptions were claimed for which documents. But the big takeaway, to me, is that the Circuit Court has ruled that the government can’t keep the identities of lobbyists hidden, even if those lobbyists were lobbying for telecoms that had helped the government break the law.

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  1. MadDog says:

    …As a sop to the government–which was trying to hide all this information–the Circuit Court ruled that the government did not have to make the email addresses for the individuals involved public…

    Almost, but not quite. *g*

    There was more nuance in the 9th’s decision wrt emails. Such that if I were a government litigator, I wouldn’t be swapping any high fives just yet:

    …[14] Thus the carriers’ agents’ email addresses, when not needed to identify the party communicating with the government, are protected from release by Exemption 6. If, however, a particular email address is the only way to identify the carriers’ agent at issue from the disputed records, such information is not properly withheld under Exemption 6 because this minor privacy interest does not counterbalance the robust interest of citizens’ right to know “what their government is up to.” Reporters Comm., 489 U.S. at 773 (internal quotation marks omitted).

    [15] In short, we affirm the district court’s careful balancing of the public interest against the privacy interests of agents for the carriers, finding disclosure of the names of people seeking to influence the agencies’ pursuit of a retroactive carrier shield does not constitute “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2006). However, we reverse the district court as to the agents’ email addresses—so long as they are not needed to identify the agent—for which there is little public interest in disclosure and at least some privacy interest…

    (My Bold)

    • emptywheel says:

      Good point.

      Btw, I haven’t cross-checked with the Vaughn Indices, but I think unless White rules for EFF on the Exemption 3 issue, almost everything will remain secret anyway, since the govt usually claimed 3 AND 6.

      That said, I think the 9th gave White a road map for the basis for which he can deny the govt’s claim on 3–that these people CAN’T be sources and methods, because they’re nothing more than lobbyists.

      • MadDog says:

        …That said, I think the 9th gave White a road map for the basis for which he can deny the govt’s claim on 3–that these people CAN’T be sources and methods, because they’re nothing more than lobbyists.

        Agree! White would have to be blind to miss the 9th breadcrumb trail on Exemption 3.

        And while we’re on the subject of a pretty strong judicial ruling that FOIA Exemption 3 does not protect lobbyists’ names and communications, I had a thought I’d like to run by you (and perhaps the other FDL heavyweights like Jane):

        I wonder if FDL would be willing to undertake the submission of a FOIA request for all communications (correspondence, emails, text messages, tweets, etc.) between Rahm Emanuel and health care lobbyists?

        Perhaps even broadened to include all communications between health care lobbyists, the White House, AND Congress?

        Might need some legal assistance in putting the FOIA request together (I like EFF attorneys better than CREW attorneys, but this may be out of EFF’s chosen bailiwick), and it would probably be beneficial to bring onboard other blogs, organizations like SEIU, etc. for maximizing the political punch.

        I’m guessing the process itself could create a pretty big political firestorm and headache with the folks who have so much to hide.

        Just a thought.

        • emptywheel says:

          Prob with Rahm is he’s in EOP which has much higher exemption from FOIA than an agency. That’s why hte whole czar criticism is, in fact valid. We can’t get Nancy Ann DeParle’s stuff either, and she was a critical cog in the hc deals. We COULD, however, get Sebelius’.

        • klynn says:

          In addition, in at least two instances (OLC Vaughn Index numbers 46 & 74), the plain language of the declaration seems to imply an intra-Executive Branch email when, in fact, the Vaughn Index makes clear the communications at issue were between the Executive Branch and telecommunications company representatives. This highlights the need for a fact specific inquiry under Exemption 5.

          I assume your suggestion was based on this “busted” element of the ruling.

          MadDog, with this ruling it seems to make sense to try and go after Rahm-lobbyist communications irt healthcare after this gift from the court.

          I know Marcy responded @ 10 irt EOP and more restrictive FOIA; however, healthcare is not national security directly, it is the people’s business. The meme by the gov with this EFF FOIA centered on Exec priv due to national security under the guise of intel.

          Healthcare is not intel.

            • klynn says:

              With this EFF filing, that (intel) was the gov’s most heavy argument in terms of risk, if I understand correctly? Although, IANAL.

              Nonetheless, I think there would be a window to address and conclude that there is a public interest in disclosure which overrides the risk of harm to the processes involved. As I understand it, Exemption 5, “deliberative” privilege, which covers “predecisional” materials written as part of the decision making process in federal agencies in relation to the EO, is the most often used assertion of EO Privilege.

              If the gov stood on “chilling effect” of information release, I think the argument could be made that the gov is currently creating a “chilling effect” by allowing the health care lobbyists and health care industry have the full ear of the EO and not allow for citizen consumer and citizen health care groups have equal say in policy development. Hiding the lobbying interests is having a huge “chilling effect” now.

              Evidence of such abounds with the congressional difficulties in passing legislation that people support.

              Again, IANAL.

              Let me add that another window to hold up against the deliberative process is when the process has caused harm to citizens. Then the “process” is weak and argument to protect the policy making process are weak as well. One example would be when past efforts to shape health care (like Pharma and Medicare-Medicaid) has caused burdens for citizens and the policy needed to be changed due to harm and yet outside groups argued against the drug coverage changes but were not included in the deliberative process. When there is not a consistent success in the deliberative process, it lessens the argument by the gov to protect the deliberative process, if I understand correctly. It has to have been a consistent and effective approach that did not inflict harm or duress on the citizens to be protected by deliberative process. If I understand it correctly. Again, IANAL.

  2. MadDog says:

    And I wonder EW if you had the same take that I did with both the tone and the conclusion of David Kravets in his Wired article?

    The poor boy seems to have got it all wrong.

    His article implies a big win for the government when the real gist of the 9th’s decision was instead a really big win for EFF.

    I don’t know what decision he was reading, but it had zero resemblance to the one I read.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Assuming I’ve got the right Vaughn index (warning: PDF), the ruling would release NOTHING, as there isn’t a single document that only claims 6.

        I’m seeing a big win for the Government, and a “return to start” for the EFF. What am I missing?

        Boxturtle (Perhaps there’s too much blood in my caffine system)

        • emptywheel says:

          The part where the Appeals Court said to White: Oh, by the way, we’re treating these people as LOBBYISTS and not as SOURCES AND METHODS. And since there is no lobbyist exemption to FOIA, please just dot that I and cross that T and send this back to us, kay?

        • ncardozo says:

          That’s correct, the government has claimed exemptions 3 and 6 congruently.

          (And no, we don’t see it as a government win :) )

  3. fatster says:

    Pardon the O/T, please, but wouldn’t you know it? It’s that sick Sembler guy.

    Behind Liz Cheney’s group, a weird legacy of torture
    Financing Cheney’s pro-torture front is Melvin Sembler, who once enabled “enhanced interrogation” of American teens
    BY JOE CONASON

    LINK.

    • PJEvans says:

      Figures. TPM is pointing out the Darth and Tom Ridge are leading the charge against this administration because they read the Underwear Bomber his Miranda rights … even though Darth and Shrub’s maladministration did the same thing with the Shoe Bomber.

      Nice double-standard you have there, Darth. It would be a shame if nothing happened to it.

    • wavpeac says:

      I still wonder…about the child porn ring rumors (conspiracy theories) lurking out there in regard to an undergound child porn ring…that made snuff films. I know, I know but check out the wiki on it…it’s really an amazing story. A lot of crap mixed in with some facts…but if you connect the torture issue as just one more broad potentially telling issue…well it’s just keeps surfacing.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_child_prostitution_ring_allegations

  4. wavpeac says:

    one more note…Michael Jackson came to Omaha for a “stop”. Not to perform, he was performing at K.C. He stopped and visited the Franklin Mansion a few years before the scandal broke. Sorry…off topic but maybe they really do have a penchant for torture…we’ve joked but what if…it says something more.

      • wavpeac says:

        throw in Guckert Gannon, throw in torture and torture tapes and everything inside me says there might be a smoking gun here.

        Throw in children being sexual abused by torturers in front of parents.

        That story of the prostitution ring has never died in my mind. I work in mental health and was working at a mental health hospital when it broke open. I can just say that Bonacci was believed. Then if you care to look the number of deaths associated in the case are unbelievable. I just think this theme plays all the way through….

          • klynn says:

            Thank you for that link. I had no idea.

            This last summer, while we were traveling on vacation out of Ohio to another destination, we stopped at a pretty big exit to refuel.

            I was a bit distracted by an unusual set of circumstances. Two young boys, tweens, were “delivered” to this big exit stop by one man and picked up by another man. This had no appearance of a divorced parents child exchange. The man receiving the children was well dressed and had little interaction with the young boys. The man dropping off had the most evil grin on his face as he watched the exchange.

            My immediate thought was that these boys were sex slaves.

            • fatster says:

              My heart seemed to stop for a moment just reading about it. I can only imagine the impact on you, actually seeing it. I hope wavpeac returns and can tell us of an organization or group dedicated to helping these children. I’d sure like to know.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    The government gets what they want: Time. This has go back to White, wait for him to act, then get appealed AGAIN. So in two years or so, we’ll be back to where we are now.

    If I was the government, I’d be pleased. They don’t have to release a darn thing, they don’t have to use their shot at the supremes, and they get another shot at both the trial and appeal level.

    Boxturtle (Never allowed to waterboard when you really need to)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        I don’t have the index in front of me, but I’d bet that’s a fairly small list of only 6’s.

        Can they go back and add 3’s to those or are they stuck?

        Boxturtle (It’s a complicated ruling. I reserve the right to change my mind later)

  6. powwow says:

    The government gets what they want: Time. This has go back to White, wait for him to act, then get appealed AGAIN. – BoxTurtle

    I think it’s unquestionable that increasingly that’s what motivates our Executive Branch of government: Avoiding final and definitive Judicial Branch rulings at all cost.

    And a lot of judges have enabled those efforts, and helped them get away with it. But they’ve met their match, I think, in our friend Judge Hawkins, who authored this opinion almost immediately, as Circuit Court opinions go (even if it is just an FOIA case), after the oral argument held on January 12, for which the audio link is here:

    http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_subpage.php?pk_id=0000004743

    Judge Hawkins, of course, is also the author of the (in my opinion, quite-superb) panel decision defining “state secrets” down to size, in the Jeppesen torture transport case (involving Binyam Mohamed, among others) – an important ruling that’s now under review by the en banc Ninth Circuit Court after oral argument in December (in which Judge Hawkins also ably participated).

    Oral argument in December during which a familiar voice was representing the government, faced off against the impressive Ben Wizner of the ACLU: Douglas Letter. And both Douglas Letter and Scott McIntosh (he of the Brandon Mayfield FISA/Fourth Amendment 9th Circuit panel oral argument) showed up to represent the DOJ and the Executive Branch at this FOIA case oral argument in January. Judge Hawkins was also a member of the Al Haramain panel that remanded that case back to Judge Walker, in a different state secrets context.

    Just to underscore what some judges – thankfully, District Judge White and Circuit Judge Hawkins here apparently excepted – are willing to let the Executive Branch get away with, despite even the will of Congress to the contrary, read the Arar (the Canadian air traveler sent to Syrian torture for a year by the U.S.) petition for certiorari filed with the Supreme Court this month, which spells it out with crystal clarity:

    The majority [seven members of a Second Circuit en banc court, whose oral argument Sonia Sotomayer participated in] also held that Arar’s claim for denial of access to court was insufficiently pleaded because he was unable to identify precisely which officials had blocked him from seeing an attorney and being able to seek judicial review.

    Four judges dissented in four separate opinions, with each dissenting judge joining the other dissents in full.

    […]

    The court of appeals concluded that Arar’s claim that federal defendants violated his constitutional rights by sending him to Syria to be tortured could not support a Bivens claim because it would raise issues regarding national security, foreign policy, and confidential information. But the court failed to acknowledge that all of the same issues would have been present had defendants not obstructed Arar from seeking court review of his removal order while in the United States, as Congress contemplated. Implementing a treaty signed by the President and ratified by the Senate, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Congress has directed that no alien should be removed to a country where he or she faces a substantial risk of torture, and has provided for judicial review of removal decisions to ensure enforcement of that guarantee.

    […]

    By denying all judicial [appellate] review in a situation where defendants blocked the [lower court] review Congress provided, the court of appeals undermined the clear intent of Congress and effectively allowed the Executive to manipulate the jurisdiction of the courts.

    […]

    Here, the availability of a Bivens remedy would play a crucial deterrent role in assuring that the system created by Congress to protect aliens from subjection to torture–including its provision of judicial review—cannot be circumvented. The court of appeals’ decision permits executive officials to escape all accountability so long as they ensure that aliens in their custody cannot get to court.

    Moreover, defendants are not merely alleged to have sent Arar to Syria despite the risk of torture. They are alleged to have sent him to Syria for the purpose of having him tortured in the hopes of extracting information from him. To immunize federal defendants from any judicial review under these circumstances is to countenance not only a subversion of our system of checks and balances, but torture itself, and on these grounds alone warrants this Court’s review even apart from the conflicts discussed below that the Second Circuit’s decision created with decisions of this Court and other courts of appeals.

    […]

    In this instance, Congress has expressly directed the courts to protect the fundamental human rights guarantee against torture, yet executive officials intentionally subverted both that guarantee and the judicial review process Congress established. In these circumstances, a Bivens action is not only appropriate, but necessary, to reaffirm the checks and balances that Congress sought to ensure.

    • skdadl says:

      I didn’t realize that Arar had another chance by this route, but I’m glad to read that. Some of the dissenting opinions were very compelling, one in particular. Scott Horton:

      “When the history of this distinguished court is written, today’s majority decision will be viewed with dismay,” writes Guido Calabresi, the former Yale Law dean and a man widely viewed as the most illustrious living member of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

      Greenwald

  7. Jim White says:

    OT: The seven previously redacted paragraphs on Binyam Mohamed’s treatment have been released. I don’t have much confidence in them, though, because there is a typo, with the date off by a year:

    “The following seven paragraphs have been redacted

    [It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2001 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.

    v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

    vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and “disappearing” were played upon.

    vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

    viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the inter views were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

    ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

    x) The treatment reported, if had been administered on behalf of the United Kingdom, would clearly have been in breach of the undertakings given by the United Kingdom in 1972. Although it is not necessary for us to categorise the treatment reported, it could readily be contended to be at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities]”

    Mohamed was captured in April, 2002, so the “17 May 2001” reference should be to 2002. What else was changed in the “un-redaction”?

        • skdadl says:

          Heavens. A paragraph about MI5 has been suppressed, but a letter released that describes what was in that paragraph. And now there’s a possibility it may be restored on Friday.

          Heavens. That’s the way this case has kept going. Things get suppressed, but then we find out indirectly — from the objections of the High Court judges, eg — roughly what was in the redactions. And now we have this interesting letter. Heh — I’ll bet that Miliband and his lawyer didn’t expect that to become public.

  8. Mary says:

    Not a super big deal, but while the opinion speaks in terms of White needing to make a “specific inquiry” I think that it won’t be White who is getting to work right away. I think you’ll be seeing an order from White for Gov to a) explain their incorrect declarations (which were under oath) to account for the discrepancies and maybe explain why there shouldn’t be some sanctions, then b) redo their declarations and not give him anything incorrect this time up.

    Then I think he’ll use the advocacy system and tell EFF they need to make specific objections to the declrations and basically pass the buck to them to do the line by lines, then he’ll review the ones that EFF makes the case on. fwiw

    • emptywheel says:

      Though are they also telling White to double check the govts work? They make a clear implication that the govt may have been claiming inter-agency exemption for stuff that wasn’t.

      • bmaz says:

        Yes, there appeared clear direction for White to be involved and to demand to actually see and review documents. In fact, is was notable enough that I started wondering if the government wished it had attempted to respond with a Glomar assertion.

      • Mary says:

        Yeah – I think they are. I would contemplate a couple of things from their references.

        First, someone ought to be pushing on the issue of declarations and misrepresentations. I’d expect via an EFF motion or a court action that Gov would be directed, based on the two examples, to go back and re-look at all its FOIA #5 exemptions and correct its declarations and ante up someone to certify to the court that all the emails have been checked and that Exemp 5 is not being claimed for any emails involving 3rd party, non-agency persons or entities. Then they are just at item 3 on some of the emails.

        EFF might, at that point, ask for something like an independent review, given the prior mistakes. That would be the court taking a look or, more likely, the court and gov dancing around over whether there is someone with clearance who could be appointed for the review and who will pay for that time if they do a separate review. The court might also just make them go upchain on the certifications to put someone with higher profile on the dec line which presumably is going to make it less likely that they fib to the court (yeah, like that’s been the case this last 7 or 8 or so years)

        I think we then have the really interesting item 3. Are lobbyist names de facto “sources and methods” info? Can or should the “sources and methods” exemption be deemed to include domestic corporations colluding with the White House to break domestic laws and violate the 4th Amendment? If national legislation is being formulated to grant immunity from lawbreaking, with such immunity to be publicized statutorily, is there a covert “sources and methods” interest in turning over information as to which telecoms believed they would benefit by recieving immunity for the violation of domestic law? If US citizens are being retroactively disenfranchised from their recovery rights under FISA, is that interest sufficient to supercede the rights of “source anonymity” for a corporation involved in violation of law sufficient to require Congressional immunity action?

        Lots of interesting questions that could be/may be framed.

    • Leen says:

      A kid. Jane Mayer stated in her article “The Trial” that military courts have more lenient standards for how information is collected and what is allowed in these tribunals than civilian courts. Why is this kid being tried at a military tribunal instead of a civilian court?

      “Jane Mayer “Many countries that had refused to coöperate with military commissions at Guantánamo were much more favorably disposed to criminal trials. Among the countries that stood willing to provide evidence and witnesses for court prosecutions were Germany, France, and Great Britain.”

      —————————————————————————–
      Jane “By 2008, the Bush Administration believed that this so-called Clean Team had compiled sufficient evidence to charge Mohammed and the others with capital murder. The cases were to be tried in military commissions, which have more lenient rules of evidence than civilian courts.”

      Is this true?

      Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/02/15/100215fa_fact_mayer#ixzz0f3gcDF7Q

      —————————————————————–

      Blackwater killers walk in our court system. John Walker Lindh doing 20.

      Thanks for letting us know about this