OPEN GOVERNMENT — The Washington Inependent reports that President Obamas sweeping reversals of torture and state secret policies are about to face an early test.
The test of those commitments will come soon in key court cases involving CIA black sites and torture that the Bush administration had quashed by claiming they would reveal state secrets and endanger national security. Legal experts say that the Bush Department of Justice used whats known as the state secrets privilege created originally as a narrow evidentiary privilege for sensitive national security information as a broad shield to protect the government from exposure of its own misconduct. One such case, dealing with the gruesome realities of the CIAs so-called extraordinary rendition program, is scheduled for oral argument before a federal appeals court in early February. The position the Obama administration takes in this case may be the first major test of its new policies on transparency in government.