WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that former prisoners of the C.I.A. could not sue over their alleged torture in overseas prisons because such a lawsuit might expose secret government information.
The sharply divided ruling was a major victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy powers. It strengthens the White House’s hand as it has pushed an array of assertive counterterrorism policies, while raising an opportunity for the Supreme Court to rule for the first time in decades on the scope of the president’s power to restrict litigation that could reveal state secrets.
By a 6-to-5 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary accused of arranging flights for the Central Intelligence Agency to transfer captives to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the case on behalf of five former prisoners who say they were tortured in captivity — and that Jeppesen was complicit in that alleged abuse.
You could call this the "I vas just following orders" rationale. On balance, I support that the need to protect private entities that are doing work at the government's behest. But there's a problem involved, which Allahpundit at Hot Air mentions:
If, in the interests of national security, your rights are violated, there’s no legal recourse against any party involved if the facts implicate “secrets”? Transparency fee-vah!
So, let's ask the same question that Allahpundit asks: are you okay with this?