FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2002
TDD (202) 514-1888
STATEMENT OF BARBARA COMSTOCK, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS,
REGARDING TODAY’S FILING IN SIBEL EDMONDS V. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE:
“To prevent disclosure of certain classified and sensitive national security information, Attorney General Ashcroft today asserted the state secrets privilege in Sibel Edmonds v. Department of Justice. This assertion was made at the request of FBI Director Robert Mueller in papers filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Department of Justice also filed a motion to dismiss the case, because the litigation creates substantial risks of disclosing classified and sensitive national security information that could cause serious damage to our country’s security.
“The state secrets privilege is well-established in federal law. It has been recognized by U.S. courts as far back as the 19th century, and allows the Executive Branch to safeguard vital information regarding the nation’s security or diplomatic relations. In the past, this privilege has been applied many times to protect our nation’s secrets from disclosure, and to require dismissal of cases when other litigation mechanisms would be inadequate. It is an absolute privilege that renders the information unavailable in litigation.”