Supersecret Surveillance

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

So secret, a court cannot even review it.

The Ninth Circuit is looking at a case revolving around supersecret surveillance done with out court oversight of any constitutional safeguards.  The Washington Post covers it, and I particularly lliked this part:

The bottom line here is the government declares something is a state secret, that’s the end of it. No cases. . . . The king can do no wrong," said Judge Harry Pregerson, one of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who grilled administration lawyers at length over whether a pair of lawsuits against the government should go forward.

Deputy Solicitor General Gregory G. Garre was forced to mount a public argument that almost nothing about the substance of the government’s conduct could be talked about in court because doing so might expose either the methods used in gathering intelligence or gaps in those methods.

"This seems to put us in the ‘trust us’ category," Judge M. Margaret McKeown said about the government’s assertions that its surveillance activities did not violate the law. " ‘We don’t do it. Trust us. And don’t ask us about it.’ "

At one point, Garre argued that courts are not the right forum for complaints about government surveillance, and that "other avenues" are available. "What is that? Impeachment?" Pregerson shot back.

Clearly, the Ninth Circuit hates America.

UPDATE:  Wired liveblogged the surreal hearing yesterday.