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Rep. Nadler Holds Hearing on State Secrets

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:52 pm    Post subject: Rep. Nadler Holds Hearing on State Secrets
From Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:00 am to Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:59 am (included)
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8th Congressional District of New York

Rep. Nadler Holds Hearing on State Secrets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CONTACT: Shin Inouye, 202-225-5635

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, today held an oversight hearing on reforming the state secrets evidentiary privilege. The state secrets privilege allows the government to prevent public disclosure of testimony and materials in litigation if their disclosure would reveal information damaging to national security.

When used properly, the state secrets privilege protects vital national security interests, said Rep. Nadler. However, in recent years, the state secrets privilege has been expanded to not only produce arguably unfair results by preventing disclosure of specific items of evidence but also has been used to block litigation altogether and prevent any examination of challenged government activity. We need to consider how we can reform the system to ensure that only truly sensitive information is kept secret.

Rep. Nadler noted that the privilege has been invoked to block litigation challenging some of the most troubling aspects of the Administrations war on terror, preventing meaningful judicial review of government activity that might otherwise prove to be politically embarrassing or clearly illegal.

For example, in legal challenges to the National Security Agencys warrantless wiretapping program, the government invoked the state secrets privilege in an effort to block the entire litigation, despite the Presidents own acknowledgement of the program and widespread media accounts confirming its existence.

Last week, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA), introduced legislation to reform the state secrets privilege to allow for an independent judge to determine the validity of the governments claim when the state secrets privilege is invoked. Rep. Nadler plans to introduce similar legislation in the House shortly.

The American people and Congress have a right to know what this government is doing, Rep. Nadler added. Truly sensitive information should, of course, be protected from harmful public disclosure. But hiding illegal or embarrassing information from judicial review and consideration ultimately undermines our national security and respect for the rule of law.


Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New Yorks 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn
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