Confronting the State Secrets Privilege

01.14.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The growing use of the state secrets privilege could threaten basic constitutional rights, according to one recent critical analysis.

If current trends in government reliance on the state secrets privilege are allowed to continue, “it is questionable whether any constitutional complaint against the government involving classified information will ever be allowed to be adjudicated,” concluded Carrie Newton Lyons in a review published last year.

Ms. Lyons, a former CIA operations officer, presented her assessment in “The State Secrets Privilege: Expanding Its Scope Through Government Misuse” (pdf), Lewis & Clark Law Review, Volume 11, No. 1, Spring 2007.

Potential reforms to the state secrets privilege will be explored by Louis Fisher of the Law Library of Congress and other experts in a January 24 panel discussion sponsored by the Constitution Project.

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