home | about | documents | news | postings | FOIA | research | internships | search | donate | mailing list

Archive, Secrecy Experts Urge Court to Scrutinize Government Secrecy Claims

Secrecy Has Increased Exponentially Over Last Four Years, and Military and Intelligence Officials Say Much of it is Unnecessary

Categorical Ban on Speech About National Security Letters
Undermines Government Accountability

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 160

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

Posted - August 3, 2005



Washington D.C. August 3, 2005 - The National Security Archive, along with other secrecy experts, today filed a “friend of the court” brief in a lawsuit challenging the FBI’s authority to issue national security letters (NSLs) without any judicial oversight and under a blanket gag order that prohibits the recipient from speaking with anyone about the NSL. The amicus curiae brief was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which is reviewing a lower court decision that held that the NSL authority violated the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The brief argues 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 the case of the NSL authority, the brief points out the particular dangers associated with a permanent and categorical ban on speech by recipients of NSLs and demonstrates the terrible impact that the rule has on government accountability.

In addition to the Archive, the brief was filed on behalf of the Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the National Whistleblower Coalition. More information about the lawsuit is available at www.aclu.org.

home | about | documents | news | postings | FOIA | research | internships | search | donate | mailing list

Contents of this website Copyright 1995-2017 National Security Archive. All rights reserved.
Terms and conditions for use of materials found on this website.