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Federal judge: Enough with the secrecy!

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  1. Court Access
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema Tuesday criticized the government's secrecy in the case of a prominent Muslim spiritual leader from…

U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema Tuesday criticized the government’s secrecy in the case of a prominent Muslim spiritual leader from Fairfax County who was convicted on terrorism charges, and she threatened to grant a new trial if the government doesn’t share information about the Bush administration’s terrorist surveillance program. Judge Brinkema said her skepticism in the Alexandria, Va., case of Ali al-Timimi stems from government misinformation in another major terrorism prosecution: that of convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Federal prosecutors recently revealed that the CIA had told Brinkema that the interrogations of enemy combatant witnesses in Moussaoui’s trial had not been audiotaped or videotaped, when they had. Washington Post reporter Jerry Markon attended one of the rare public hearings in the al-Timimi case and reported the judge called the factual error "a mess"  but indicated it probably would not affect Moussaoui’s guilty plea or life prison term.