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Obama Administration Seeks Power To Censor “Unclassified Materials”

Steven Aftergood
FAS.org [1]
Friday, May 13, 2011

The government is seeking to limit the disclosure of unclassified information as well as classified information about the National Security Agency at the upcoming trial of former NSA official Thomas A. Drake [2], who is accused of unlawful retention of classified documents that were allegedly provided to a reporter.

Under the provisions [3] (pdf) of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), as expected, prosecutors have asked the court to protect certain classified information from disclosure at trial by proposing substitutions, subject to court approval.

But in an unprecedented legal maneuver, they said that some unclassified information concerning NSA should also be kept off the record.  Defense attorneys told the court that the move was outrageous.

“One month from trial, and one year after the Indictment issued in this case, the government has asserted, for the first time, an evidentiary privilege under the National Security Agency Act of 1959 that it claims authorizes the Court to redact, or insert substitutions for, relevant unclassified evidence that will be introduced during the upcoming criminal trial,” wrote public defenders James Wyda and Deborah L. Boardman on May 10 [4] (pdf).  “There is no authority for this unprecedented assertion in the context of a criminal trial.”

Full story here. [1]


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