Tuesday, November 07, 2006

No lawyer for tortured detainee because detainee's torture is classified

Unbelievable. I'm going to post in full the first few grafs of this Marty Lederman post:

You Call It "Torture"; We Call It "Coming Into Possession of Classified Information"

Why can't Majid Khan have a lawyer, according to the Department of Justice? Because he might tell the lawyer how he was treated by the U.S. government. Think about that for a second.

The theory of the government's case here is contained in the remarkable tenth paragraph of the Declaration of Marilyn Dorn, CIA Information Review Officer. Dorn writes:

Information relating to the CIA terrorist detention program has been placed in a TOP Secret/SCI program to enhance protection from unauthorized disclosure. Because Majid Khan was detained by the CIA in this program, he may have come into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques, that is classified at the TOP SECRET/SCI level.
Joe Marguiles, quoted in the Post article, is right: This goes beyond Orwell into Lewis Carroll territory, topping the formidable list of jaw-dropping Bush Administration euphemisms.

Khan "came into possession" of top secret classified information, eh? And how might that have happened? Part of his job at the CIA? A leak from a rogue CIA employee? By finding a lost memo sitting around some blind alley somewhere?

Or is it, perhaps, that he "came into possession" by virtue of the fact that he is the "classified information"? That is to say, it was the CIA's torture of Khan -- sorry, its "application of alternative interrogation techniques against him" -- that was how Khan "came into possession" of our most closely guarded secrets.

As DOJ sees it, Khan can't have a lawyer because of the risk that he'll tell the lawyer about that classified info that he now "possesses." (Here's the DOJ Brief.)

Read the rest.

Seems to me that the government declassified the "information" the moment it was applied to an individual who did not have clearance to "receive" it.


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