Judge allows CIA to suppress information on illegal activities
A US federal judge has ruled that intelligence agencies may suppress information about torture tapes, memos and nearly any other intelligence gathering measures, even if they are illegal.
“I’m not surprised,” said former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. “It distressing to see that happen but what surprises people these days.”
McGovern said he is unsure what type of justification a judge could have to make such a decision. He said it was “weird” that even illegal information can be suppressed.
“The essence of the situation is; information is being suppressed that shouldn’t be, people are getting away with things they shouldn’t be,” said McGovern.
Very few Americans are even informed on what goes on, unless information is leaked.
The justification cited to suppress information is typically national security, a justification which McGovern called weak.
“The executive can pretend that this would do harm to national security and judges are just usually not well informed enough to make their own decisions on that and so the inclination has been to give the benefit of the doubt to the government,” McGovern explained.
The ACLU has argued that the CIA should not be able to unilaterally determine if evidence of its own criminal conduct should not be known to the public.
McGovern said judge tend to defended the CIA, which is contrary to how the system should work.
Originally, the CIA was set up as an analysis center, offering information to the executive branch without bias. However, the CIA later evolved to include other broad functions as directed by the president.
“That gives the president the ability to have his own personal Gestapo,” said McGovern. “The only restraint is on the so-called oversight committees of the congress.”
Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen argued that the argument over releasing and not releasing information on the basis of national security is flawed, as it tends to favor the security side over the US constitution.
“The CIA can get away with murder and they will face no consequences and any details about their illegal activities will be protected,” said Madsen, explaining what exactly the federal ruling means.
Madsen argued that the national security sector of the government picks and chooses judges to ensure their case goes in their favor.
"The prosecutors, it’s like Christmas shopping, they go judge shopping,” said Madsen.
He argued that there is no longer a fully independent US judiciary and that some judges operate as PR agents for the intelligence community and their contractors, as opposed to upholding the constitution.