Justice Dept Silent on IG Role in State Secrets Cases

08.06.12 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Department of Justice told Congress recently that it would not disclose the number of state secrets cases involving alleged government misconduct, if any, that have been referred to an Inspector General for investigation.

Under a revised state secrets policy that was announced by Attorney General Holder in 2009, the Department committed to referring credible claims of government wrongdoing that could not be adjudicated in court because the state secrets privilege had been invoked to the Inspector General of the relevant agency for further investigation.

So have any such state secrets cases in fact been referred an Inspector General?  That question was posed for the record by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse following a November 2011 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In newly published responses to this and a wide range of other questions that were transmitted to Congress in June, the Justice Department said it would not answer directly.

“The Department’s policy is not to disclose the existence of pending IG investigations.  Consistent with that policy, we could not provide the number of cases, if any, that may have been referred to an IG pursuant to the Department policy on state secrets privilege.”

“However, to the extent IG investigations are undertaken, the Government has typically released public versions of final IG reports,” the DoJ reply stated.

No such public versions of final IG reports have been released in the Obama Administration, as far as could be determined.  In 2008, a redacted version of a DHS Inspector General report concerning the Maher Arar state secrets case was released.