Judge Rules against ACLU in Bid to Obtain Cable Already Released by WikiLeaks

July 23, 2012 3:41 pm

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Documents Among Those That Led to Arrest of Bradley Manning

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New York – A federal district judge in Washington has ruled that the State Department does not have to provide the American Civil Liberties Union today with embassy cables released by WikiLeaks that the government insisted were still classified even though they had been widely reported on by news organizations.
The 23 cables in the FOIA request included communications about the secret use of drones for targeted killings, opposition to the release of photos showing U.S. torture of detainees and attempts to undermine European investigations into the rendition and torture of terror suspects.
The government had refused to respond to the request, which prompted the ACLU to sue last year. The documents in question had already been released by WikiLeaks. Those documents were part of the trove that former Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of passing to WikiLeaks.

“The court’s decision will leave many Americans scratching their heads, and rightly so,” said Ben Wizner, Director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. “The embassy cables have been published throughout the world, and Bradley Manning is being prosecuted for leaking them. Yet the court accepted the highly dubious argument that these widely disseminated documents remain properly ‘classified.’ By endorsing this legal fiction, the court does further damage to the government’s credibility and undermines the legitimacy of any future government claim of secrecy.”

The opinion can be read at https://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/aclu-v-department-state-memo….

For more on the case and to see the documents in question, go to https://www.aclu.org/wikileaks-diplomatic-cables-foia-documents.

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