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Archive and Openness Advocates Urge Supreme Court:
Tell Lower Courts to Scrutinize Government Secrecy Claims

Amicus Brief Requests Review of Dismissal of Whistle Blower Case

For more information contact
Meredith Fuchs - 202/994-7000

October 10, 2005

Read the amici curiae brief, filed October 10, 2005

 

Washington, D.C., October 10, 2005 - The National Security Archive, along with other openness advocates, today filed a "friend of the court" brief with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review the summary dismissal, on secrecy grounds, of a lawsuit filed by an FBI whistleblower.

The Archive's General Counsel Meredith Fuchs explained: "Potential whistleblowers who work in military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies will almost always come into contact with classified information. The problem is that courts today simply are accepting the government claims that the need for secrecy of such information outweighs strong interests, including constitutional interests, in addressing the claims in the lawsuits. We are asking courts to take a harder look." In the case of Sibel Edmonds, the contract linguist who sought to blow the whistle on improprieties in the FBI's translation unit, there are facts that support her claims of wrongdoing, including a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General Report that concludes that Ms. Edmonds' whistleblowing was "the most significant factor" in her termination.

Amici argue that secrecy does not always serve the goal of protecting national security, as the numerous investigations into the September 11 attacks on the United States all concluded. Noting that there has been an upsurge in secrecy over the last four years--and that military and intelligence officials ranging from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to now-Director of the CIA Porter Goss all admit that a significant amount of the secrecy is unnecessary--the brief argues that the judiciary must provide a meaningful review of government claims for secrecy.

In addition to the Archive, the brief was filed on behalf of the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists, the National Whistleblower Coalition, the Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Inc., The Government Accountability Project, The National Freedom of Information Coalition, American Library Association, the National Air Disaster Alliance, and September 11th Advocates.

More information about the lawsuit is available at www.aclu.org.

Update - October 18, 2005

Amicus Brief filed by News Media, October 17, 2005

Sibel Edmonds Petition for Certiorari, August 3, 2005

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