[DEBATE] : US Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit on Secret Flights
Riaz K. Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Sat Oct 20 22:15:53 BST 2007
US Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit on Secret Flights
By Adam Tanner
Friday 19 October 2007
The U.S. government asked a federal court late on Friday to dismiss
a lawsuit against a unit of Boeing Co that charges the firm helped fly
suspects abroad to secret prisons.
"Allowing plaintiffs' claims to proceed would risk the disclosure
of highly classified information concerning the alleged 'intelligence
activities, sources, and methods' of the CIA," said the filing, signed
by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bucholtz.
The American Civil Liberties Union first filed a complaint in May
accusing Jeppesen Dataplan Inc of providing flight and logistical
support to at least 15 aircraft on 70 "extraordinary-rendition" flights.
The complaint to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
of California alleged Jeppesen "falsified flight plans to European air
traffic control authorities to avoid public scrutiny of CIA flights."
The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of five men who say the CIA had
them flown to foreign prisons for interrogations and torture.
In its response on Friday, the U.S. government asked the judge to
dismiss the case or issue a summary judgment in its favor.
"Although the President and other officials have acknowledged that
the CIA operates a terrorist detention and interrogation program
("program"), these officials have specifically refused to confirm or
deny any operational details concerning that program," it said.
Those details "include whether any private entities or other
countries assisted the CIA in conducting the program; the dates and
locations of any detentions and interrogations; the methods of
interrogation employed in the program; and the names of any individuals
detained and interrogated by the CIA (other than fifteen individuals
whose identities have been divulged so that they can be brought to trial)."
All of those details are secret and central to the case, and so
cannot be litigated, the government argued.
In response, the ACLU said the victims of the program deserved
their day in court.
"The whole world knows about the U.S. 'extraordinary rendition'
program and the government's invocation of 'state secrets' in this case
is just another cynical attempt by the administration to cover up an
illegal and immoral program," said ACLU lawyer Steven Watt.
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