UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 21, 2009

FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS CIA REPEATEDLY MISLED HIM

McClatchy Newspapers - A federal district judge ruled that the CIA repeatedly misled him in asserting that state secrets were involved in a 15-year-old lawsuit involving allegedly illegal wiretapping. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also ordered former CIA director George Tenet and five other CIA officials to explain their actions or face potential sanctions.

Lamberth also questioned the credibility of current CIA Director Leon Panetta , saying that Panetta's testimony in the case contained significant discrepancies, and rejected an Obama administration request that the case continue to be kept secret. He released hundreds of previously secret filings.

"The court does not give the government a high degree of deference because of its prior misrepresentations regarding the stated secrets privilege in this case," Lamberth wrote. "Although this case has been sealed since its inception to protect sensitive information, it is clear . . . that many of the issues are unclassified."

. . . Lamberth said the agency refused to make the "basic acknowledgement" that the spy agency possesses eavesdropping equipment, even though this is information quickly available through a "public online encyclopedia." Lamberth also said that an unclassified declaration by Panetta "appears to significantly conflict with his classified declaration" over whether CIA eavesdropping technology is publicly known.

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