Washington, D.C. Eric Holder, the new attorney general, has ordered a review of all claims of state secrets, which were used under President Bush to shield controversial anti-terrorism programs from lawsuits.
The so-called state secrets privilege was invoked by the previous administration to stymie a lawsuit challenging the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.
Even as officials promised a thorough review, government lawyers continued to invoke the state secrets law Monday in a federal appeals court in San Francisco. That case involves a lawsuit over the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.
Under that program, U.S. operatives seized foreign suspects and handed them over to other countries for questioning.
Some former prisoners subjected to the process contend they were tortured. Proving that in court has been difficult, as evidence they have sought to corroborate their claims has been protected by the president’s state secrets privilege.