The other day, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. issued new guidelines for invoking the state secrets privilege in the future. They were a positive step forward, on paper, but did not go nearly far enough. Mr. Holder’s much-anticipated reform plan does not include any shift in the Obama administration’s demand for blanket secrecy in pending cases. Nor does it include support for legislation that would mandate thorough court review of state secrets claims made by the executive branch.
Read the complete editorial here.
One of the existing cases that would not be affected by the new policy is Jewel v. NSA Commenting on the NYT editorial, Kevin Bankston of EFF writes:
The White House’s continuing silence about pending legislation to reform the state secrets privilege has caused the issue to stall in Congress. Even though State Secrets Protection Act legislation was introduced in both the House and the Senate this past spring, Congress have been wary of considering those bills without knowing the White House’s position. Hopefully, this editorial from the New York Times will convince President Obama that now is the time to take a strong position in favor of those bills’ reasonable limits on government secrecy.