EFF to Urge Reform of State Secrets Privilege at Congressional Hearing
On Tuesday, January 29, at 9:30 a.m, members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on reform of the state secrets privilege, which the Executive Branch has often used in recent years to hinder judicial inquiry into controversial anti-terrorism policies such as the CIA's rendition program and the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program.
Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will appear at Tuesday's hearing to explain how the Administration has abused the privilege by seeking dismissal of all lawsuits concerning the NSA program -- including EFF's lawsuit against AT&T for assisting with the NSA -- based on blanket assertions of secrecy. Bankston will urge the committee to pass legislation to reform the privilege and clear the way for such lawsuits to proceed in court fairly and securely. Such reform is the most appropriate response to phone companies like AT&T that are lobbying Congress for retroactive amnesty, based on the claim that the government's assertion of the state secrets privilege prevents them from defending themselves.