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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Apr > Apr 19

Secrecy News -- 04/19/07

From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood.nul>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 11:28:55 -0400
Fwd Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:26:05 -0400
Subject: Secrecy News -- 04/19/07


SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 42
April 19, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

Support Secrecy News:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp


**	COURT RULES THAT AIPAC TRIAL MUST BE OPEN
**	OTHER SECRECY NEWS
**	SELECTED CRS REPORTS


COURT RULES THAT AIPAC TRIAL MUST BE OPEN

A federal court this week rejected a government proposal to
restrict public access to evidence in the forthcoming trial of
two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee who are charged under the Espionage Act with
unauthorized receipt and transmission of classified information.

Using a procedure called the Silent Witness Rule, the
prosecution had proposed to present classified evidence to the
jury but to withhold it from the public and from open
deliberation during trial.

"I think it is fair to say that the government's proposal is
novel," said Judge T.S. Ellis, III on April 16.

But he said that because the evidence could not be openly
addressed in court, the proposed procedure "would render
virtually impossible an effective line of cross-examination that
might be vital to the defense."

Therefore, the judge ruled, "you can't do it. It closes the
trial. It's unconstitutional. It's unfair to the defendants."

Explaining what is at stake, Judge Ellis elaborated:

"A public trial requires witnesses' testimony to be public, so
it deters perjury. It requires a judge's rulings to be made in
public, as today, so it deters partiality and bias. And by
requiring prosecutors to present their charges and evidence
publicly, it deters vindictiveness and abuse of power."

Another "novel and distinctive" feature of the government
proposal noted by Judge Ellis is that prosecutors were prepared
to share classified evidence with jurors who do not hold
security clearances. ("Interestingly, there is some authority
for that," he observed.)

More dubiously, the judge said, "the government's proposed
procedure treats even certain selected public domain documents,
including news reports, as if they were classified documents."

At any rate, while the government may suggest unclassified
substitutions for classified evidence (as provided by the
Classified Information Procedures Act), the proposal to withhold
evidence from the public altogether was decisively rejected.

At the conclusion of the April 16 hearing it was unclear how the
government would proceed, and even whether the trial itself
could go forward.

If the prosecution "decline[s] to submit any substitutions [for
classified evidence] that you would ever make public," Judge
Ellis warned, "then maybe ... I have decide whether to dismiss
the indictment, if that's the case."

The transcript of the April 16 hearing provided substantive
discussion of the issues involved in handling classified
evidence and the importance of open trials, along with some
intense legal maneuvering and occasional flashes of humor. A
copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/jud/rosen041607.html

A follow-up hearing was scheduled this afternoon (April 20) to
identify the prosecution's next step.


OTHER SECRECY NEWS

Independent press reporting of Army plans to extend soldiers'
tours of duty in Iraq by three months prompted outraged warnings
from the Army vice chief of staff about the need to improve
control of Army information against unauthorized disclosure. See
"General: Embarrassing = Secret" in the Danger Room blog, April
18:

http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/04/defense_secreta.html

The government asserted the "state secrets" privilege in a
Nevada lawsuit involving eTreppid Technologies (and the
classified BIG SAFARI program). But instead of trying to shut
the case down, as commonly occurs in state secrets cases, the
government, which is not a party to the case, is proposing a way
that it could proceed. See "eTreppid case gets special
treatment" by Martha Bellisle, Reno Gazette-Journal, April 19:

http://tinyurl.com/27rnqn

Senate efforts to advance the FY2007 Intelligence Authorization
Act collapsed again on April 17 in the face of Republican
opposition to several provisions of the legislation, further
undermining congressional oversight of intelligence.

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2007_cr/s041707.html


SELECTED CRS REPORTS

Some noteworthy new reports of the Congressional Research
Service include the following.

"Environmental Impacts of Airport Operations, Maintenance, and
Expansion," April 5, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33949.pdf

"What's the Difference? -- Comparing U.S. and Chinese Trade
Data," April 10, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22640.pdf

"Vulnerability of Concentrated Critical Infrastructure:
Background and Policy Options," updated January 26, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL33206.pdf

"Polar Bears: Proposed Listing Under the Endangered Species
Act," updated March 30, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL33941.pdf



_______________________________________________
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, send email to
secrecy_news-request.nul
with "subscribe" in the body of the message.

OR email your request to saftergood.nul

Secrecy News is archived at:
http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/index.html

Secrecy News is available in blog format at:
http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

SUPPORT Secrecy News with a donation here:
http://www.fas.org/static/contrib_sec.jsp

_______________________
Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
web:  www.fas.org/sgp/index.html
email: saftergood.nul
voice: (202) 454-4691



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