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Senate Judiciary Committee examines state secrets privilege

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The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today to discuss reforming the state secrets privilege, by focusing on protecting national…

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today to discuss reforming the state secrets privilege, by focusing on protecting national security while preserving accountability. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), a member of the committee, introduced legislation (S. 2533) last month to narrow the scope of the privilege.

“Public accountability has been repeatedly frustrated because so many of the administration’s actions have been cloaked in secrecy,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “Time and again, the administration has fought tooth and nail to prevent the American people and Congress from having information about its policies and practices.”

Today’s meeting followed last month’s House subcommittee oversight hearing, in which lawmakers also discussed reforming the state secrets privilege to allow the government to prevent public disclosure of testimony and materials in litigation if such disclosure would reveal information damaging to national security.