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DOJ continues efforts to keep detainees' names secret

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Freedom of Information         Aug 14, 2002    

DOJ continues efforts to keep detainees’ names secret

  • The federal government appealed a judicial order that requires the Justice Department to release the identities of those detained in the investigation of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Department of Justice expects to file by the end of the week a brief to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the names of those being held in the government’s September 11 investigation cannot be kept secret.

Justice officials filed a notice of appeal on Aug. 8. At the same time, federal attorneys asked for a temporary stay of U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler’s order, which currently requires the names to be released by Aug. 17.

Kessler gave the department 15 days to comply with the Aug. 2 order. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., by the Center for National Securities Studies and 27 other civil rights and public interest organizations, including the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Kessler rejected the Justice Department’s contention that Al-Qaeda would be tipped off with the release of the names, saying that the terrorist organization might already be aware of detained members.

Government attorneys disagreed.

“While some information may have been available to our enemies, a compendium of the entire universe of information regarding the identities of the detainees has never been provided, much less officially confirmed,” Justice officials wrote in the notice of appeal.

In her ruling, Kessler stated that government officials do not have to reveal the dates and locations of arrests, detention and release of the detainees.

JE

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