If foreign terrorists set out to undermine confidence in the American legal system as an arbiter of justice, they could hardly do more damage than the Bush Administration has done by its use of the “state secrets” privilege.
Khaled el-Masri, who alleged that he was abducted and tortured by the Central Intelligence Agency, will not be permitted to argue his case in a U.S. court because the Bush Administration asserted that “state secrets” would be compromised, and the U.S. Supreme Court this week concurred, rejecting el-Masri’s appeal.
This means that even if all of el-Masri’s allegations are true, there is no legal remedy available to him. The courthouse doors are closed in the United States. That is bad law and bad policy.
It also seems to be unnecessary, since courts have long demonstrated an ability to securely handle highly classified information, and have frequently done so in espionage trials and certain other criminal cases.
Recently, a group of law professors, scholars and activists urged Congress to confront the executive branch’s use of the state secrets privilege, and to establish new constraints on the privilege.
“Congress has a duty to examine how the state secrets privilege is being invoked by the executive branch and interpreted by federal courts. There is a need for new rules designed to protect the system of checks and balances, individual rights, national security, fairness in the courtroom, and the adversary process,” they wrote (pdf).
“Congress possesses the constitutional authority to act, and it should do so.”
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.