Critics Blast Obama's 'State Secrets' Court Fight

White House seeks to kill lawsuit by Islamic charity over FBI wiretaps
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 25, 2009 7:35 AM CDT
President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference yesterday in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
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(Newser) – Civil liberties activists are accusing President Obama of going back on his word and behaving like George Bush when it comes to protecting administration secrets, reports the Washington Post. The harsh criticism comes in the wake of a lawsuit brought by an Oregon Islamic charity seeking damages for the alleged illegal wiretapping of organization officials by the FBI. Justice Department attorneys have sought to dismiss the suit, arguing that it threatens to expose "state secrets."

It's the second such case where the argument has been used. A US district judge in San Francisco has so far rebuffed White House efforts to shut down the case. "There has to be other ways to protect secret information without having to block accountability," said a California law professor, who accused government officials of turning to the issue whenever their authority is challenged. A Justice Department spokesman defended the strategy, saying the national security privilege is invoked only when "absolutely necessary."