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Interview with Ben Wizner on State Secrets

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March 23, 2009

Last week, featured an interview about state secrets with ACLU National Security Project Staff Attorney Ben Wizner. Ben talks about the government’s invocation of the state secrets privilege in our extraoridinary rendition case, Mohamed v. Jeppesen. In the interview, Ben talks about why it’s crucial that judges are allowed to see the evidence the government claims is a state secret:

Think about what their argument is. If a judge can’t look at the evidence, that means that the executive branch is literally policing itself. They like to set this up as a question of judicial competence and judicial trustworthiness, when instead what you have is a massive conflict of interest. What it means, under their rule, is that the executive branch can engage in torture, declare it a state secret and, by virtue of that declaration alone, avoid having any judicial accountability. You have to have judges involved.

Ben just argued Jeppesen before the before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last month. A decision is pending.

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