The Department of Justice under Barack Obama, run then by Attorney General Eric Holder, promised to deliver to Congress regular reports on the government’s use of the state-secrets privilege.
It delivered one statement then quit, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The failure of the DOJ to continue what had been promised was revealed in a report by Steven Aftergood of the American Federation of Scientists.
“The Justice Department has not reported to Congress on the government’s use of the state secrets privilege since 2011, the Department acknowledged this week, contrary to a policy promising regular reporting on the subject,” he explained.
The acknowledgement came in a letter to the FAS from Justice Department Senior Counsel Vanessa Brinkman in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
“Please be advised that a search has been conducted in the Office of Legislative Affairs and no records responsive to your request were located,” the letter said.
Aftergood reported that back in 2009, Holder wrote, “The department will provide periodic reports to appropriate oversight committees on Congress with respect to all cases in which the department invokes the privilege on behalf of departments or agencies in litigation, explaining the basis for invoking the privilege.”
Holder claimed then that privilege would be invoked “only when doing so is necessary to protect against the risk of significant harm to national security.” He said it never would use it to “conceal violations of the law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or prevent embarrassment to a person, organization or agency of the United States government.
In 2011, the first – and only – report was submitted.
In a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the DOJ said it used the authority to dismiss a couple of cases alleging the National Security Agency illegally spied on Americans’ telephone and internet activities.