Eavesdropping Case Tests Obama Vows on Secrecy
by William Fisher
1 Jun 09 | IPS
Despite President Barack Obama’s formation of a new task force to review government secrecy, and an ongoing investigation into use of the so-called “state secrets doctrine”, lawyers for the new administration refused last week to disclose information on the government’s use of warrantless wiretaps and backed legislation to block the release of photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last week, Obama announced the formation of a task force to review government classification policies, proposing the creation of a National Declassification Centre to facilitate public disclosure of once-secret information.
The president reaffirmed his commitment “to operating with an unprecedented level of openness”.
But the next day, Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers filed notice of the government’s intention to challenge in the Supreme Court a New York federal appeals court ruling ordering the administration to make public the photographs allegedly depicting the abuse of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit to force their disclosure. A federal court judge agreed and ordered the government to release the photos.
President Obama initially indicated he would comply with the court’s order but later changed his mind, saying that release of the photos might risk the lives of U.S. armed forces personnel. >>>