NEWS MEDIA UPDATE · SECOND CIRCUIT · Secret Courts · June 27, 2006
Petition for access to court documents dismissed
June 27, 2006 · A New York man facing money laundering charges failed in his latest quest for access to information the government claims supports the charges against him. The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.) rejected Yassin Muhiddin Aref’s request to rule on several issues, including whether the government should disclose unredacted forms containing what it claims is confidential information. The petition to the court is the latest in a long line of legal maneuvering by Aref for access to the documents.
While Aref’s case continues in U.S. District Court in Albany, he asked the appellate court to order the government to divulge if any of the sealed evidence against him came from the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program. Aref asked the court to declare the program illegal, and declare that all evidence collected in the program be inadmissible.
In dismissing the case Friday, a three-judge panel said it lacked jurisdiction over the matter.
Although the government released redacted versions of confidential documents, Aref wants access to unredacted versions available only to those who have appropriate security clearance.
The New York Civil Liberties Union also sought to intervene and petitioned for access to the sealed materials. The court refused to allow intervention and dismissed the access request.
The government alleges that Aref and another individual agreed to launder the proceeds from a weapons sale to terrorists in a government sting operation, according to the opinion.
(Aref v. United States) — BW