Statement of US Senator Russ Feingold

For Immediate Release

US Senator Russ Feingold
Contact: 

Zach Lowe (202) 224-8657

Statement of US Senator Russ Feingold

On the Obama Administration's New Policy on the State Secrets Privilege

WASHINGTON - Today, the Obama administration released details about its new policy on
invoking the state secrets privilege. Senator Russ Feingold, a cosponsor
of the State Secrets Protection Act, legislation to provide guidance to federal
courts considering cases in which the government has asserted the state secrets
privilege, made the following statement:

"The
Bush administration's approach to state secrets was wrong-headed, causing
significant public distrust and potentially shielding government wrongdoing and
embarrassing mistakes behind a questionable legal doctrine.  While I am
pleased that the Obama administration recognizes that the Bush approach was a
mistake, its new policy is disappointing because it still amounts to an
approach of ‘just trust us.'  Independent
court review of the government's use of the state secrets privilege is
essential.  I urge the administration to work with Congress to develop
legislation that sets reasonable limits on the privilege and will not be
subject to change under each successive president."

The
state secrets privilege was invoked several times by the Bush administration in
cases that challenged several controversial programs including the warrantless
wiretapping program, rendition and interrogation programs.  The Obama
administration continued to invoke the privilege after taking power, which
Senator Feingold has criticized.

 

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