May 30th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
14 years ago

U.S. vows to keep using 'state secrets' defense

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration has informed a federal judge it will continue to invoke the "state secrets" privilege in a legal battle with an Islamic charity suspected of funding terrorism.

The United States has designated the Oregon-based al-Haramain Islamic Foundation as a terrorist organization. The group, which has sued the government over alleged warrantless wiretapping, is demanding classified information about the program.

U.S. officials have refused to tell the charity's lawyers whether the group was subjected to presidentially authorized, warrantless, foreign intelligence surveillance in 2004 and, if so, what information was obtained.

In a court document filed overnight in San Francisco and released early Saturday in Washington, the Justice Department said its case-by-case review of the government's use of the state secrets defense has not changed its position in the al-Haramain case.

The defense allows courts to block lawsuits against the government on grounds that the litigation could harm national security.

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Filed under: Justice Department
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Dawn in Pa

    Under the Bush Administration there was alot of warrentless wiretaps, and when they find out? Wow. Don't know much about this. In The Bush Administration, did we know if we were being targets? We don't know, now do we..

    May 30, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  2. indiana voter

    It's good to see that Obama is continuing the policies of the Bush administration when it comes to fighting terror. We may stay safe if he continues with it. Of course, the loony left liberal democrats will not like it, as they want all terrorists to be able to have a right to kill us.

    May 30, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Had It

    Move on folks – More Bush/Cheney/Rove stuff that swept under the carpet for eternity. Nothing new here.

    May 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Julie

    Since this was in 2004, it would be more dirty laundry from the Bush/Cheney empire, oops, administration. Do we really want to go there? It would be interesting though to find out who all they targetted during their reign with wiretapping. I think we'll never know the full extent of their actions.

    May 30, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. The Broker.

    Obama! Soccer? I think that is a little Off-Side. Give him a yellow ticket, for the lie.

    May 30, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Reality

    Obama will create the Bush legacy by following Bush's example on the war on terror while destroying our economy and indebted generations to come.

    May 30, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. The Broker.

    Obama's cover-up, of his own past. "You scratch my back!"

    May 30, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. the rector

    Well well. Maybe ol' W got somethings right after all. Or maybe Obama isn't all that different. Time will tell.

    May 30, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Wow, they're getting more like...

    the Bush administration every day,

    May 30, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. John, Brooklyn, New York

    This is incredibly sad. The power of our democracy rests on its transparency for everyone....especially those who have been accused of crimes. Have we become so tolerant of the Bush administration's rush to limit civil liberties that we are ready to tolerate it with the Obama administration too?

    May 30, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. lkm

    Really people, do we really want terrorist organizations acting with impunity right here in America? I think Obama is doing the right thing here, some things really are important to the security of the country and we can't just pretend they are not. Like it or not, militant Islam IS an ongoing threat. Best to fight it where and how we can, short of torture, ongoing.

    May 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Neilz

    The government has absolutely nothing to hide or to fear. All the Administration is doing is trying to employ an unconstitutional abuse of power which this nation rejected decades ago when it forced Nixon out of office. (Remember the pardon?) If Obama will do it to them, he'll do it to you. Are we a free people, or are we ruled by dictators who hold themselves above the law? Who was it who said, "It's not illegal when the President does it."? Nixon? Cheney? Obama? We are being played with this national security bit. Every time the politicians want to abuse power, break international law, dishonor treaties and allies, send more of our children into endless conflict they trot out "national security." The biggest threat we have to national security right now is the government itself.

    May 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. The Broker.

    Toto's are the same all over the world. So who is the Bully? You?

    May 30, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Simmy

    To say President Obama is following in Bush's footsteps is to make a spurious statement.....He is merely doing the right thing considering the circumstances.....Why fix it if it's not broken?.......I"m happy that I have a President who is wise and intelligent, and has a tough skin to boot.....Keep watching - You haven't seen anything yet.....He's the right man for the times in which we live......I know this because of the craziness from the right......If things were still going their way - the wrong way, there would be silence and agreement.......President Obama is no good ol' boy.....He's got true grit.....Props to the President.....

    May 30, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Islamic charity suspected of funding terrorism

    the muslims need to do more to root this garbage out

    it is irresponsible of the muslim faith to continue to let this go on and not get very angry and do something about it

    at what point do the whole muslim faith become complicit when it lets this happen and does not speak out and do something about it

    May 30, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Carlos

    Talk was cheap during the campaign, now he's in the real world or is he, wait a minute is the campaign over, not for the nobamas.

    May 30, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Edward

    Maybe if you received the intelligence briefings that he did you would change your mind too? Someone who puts their own agenda before that of the security of citizens is a bad commander in chief. The presidents most important duty is to keep Americans safe ... he's doing his job.

    May 30, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. More Bush/Cheney/Rove stuff that swept under the carpet

    we will be fixing Bush/Cheney/Rove stuff for decades

    I hope their kids are ashamed

    May 30, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  19. Kaye -Jacksonville FL

    What a shame that one of the many "Bush Legacy" issues is the perception that nothing should be considered a state secret. The Bush administration so abused the concept that no one trusts it could actually be used appropriately. Does it not make sense that some things should just simply not be released for public and international knowledge? There will be differences of opinion as to what should and shouldn't be realized, but how can some folks argue that Obama's promise of transparency applies to every shred of governmental information? Makes no sense to me –

    May 30, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Jenn, Philadelphia

    I noticed a few people immediately criticized the Bush Administration without realizing it's Obama who's doing the "sweeping under the carpet". I wish the kool-aid drinkers would stop trashing the last administration and notice that the new administration hasn't changed any of the foreign policy practices at all.

    May 30, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Kevin B.

    It looks like Mr Obama is not the wild eyed, soft on terrorism, naive president that the right wing would like to paint him to be.

    Mr Obama is running circles around the GOP and they do not know to deal with such an intelligent president.

    You are spot on Mr President, keep up the great work on America's behalf.

    May 30, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Tatianna

    Also, Obama admin., via the DOJ, filed papers in San Francisco, defending the Bush wiretapping program in response to a lawsuit filed by ATT customers. This is the first of its kind to seek damages against govt officials under FISA, Wiretap Act and other statutes, arising out of Bushs NSA program. Obama DOJ demanded dismissal of the entire. Obama is liking those powers to use the tools implemented by Bush. Hey libbies, Obama promised the American people a new era of transparenacy, accountability, and respect for civil liberties. DOESNT IT FEEL LIKE DEJA-VU ALL OVER AGAIN?

    May 31, 2009 02:03 am at 2:03 am |