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U.S. administration seeks dismissal of lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary

Feb. 6, 2008, San Jose, CA - U.S. administration lawyers cited national security concerns Tuesday in urging a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing a Boeing Co. subsidiary of illegally helping the CIA secretly fly terrorism suspects to overseas prisons to be tortured.


February 6, 2008
By The Canadian Press

Feb. 6, 2008, San Jose, CA – U.S. administration lawyers cited national
security concerns Tuesday in urging a federal judge to toss out a
lawsuit accusing a Boeing Co. subsidiary of illegally helping the
CIA secretly fly terrorism suspects to overseas prisons to be
tortured.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Jeppesen Dataplan Inc.
last year in San Jose federal court, accusing it of aiding the CIA
in the "forced disappearance, torture and inhumane treatment'' of
five suspected terrorists in violation of national and international
laws. The ACLU alleges Jeppesen, based in San Jose, knowingly
participated in the program by supplying aircraft, crews and
logistical support to the CIA flights.

On Tuesday, Justice Department lawyers asked U.S. District Judge
James Ware to toss the lawsuit without further litigation because of
unspecified national security risks.

In an earlier court filing, CIA Director Michael Hayden invoked
the "state secrets privilege,'' which would let him bar evidence
sensitive to national security from being used in court.

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The judge appeared sympathetic to Hayden's position Tuesday but
declined to rule immediately. Ware said he would issue a written
opinion soon.

ACLU lawyers argued Tuesday that Hayden's security concerns are
trumped because the rendition program is public knowledge.

"No interrogation method alleged…is a secret,'' ACLU lawyer
Ben Wizner said.

"Every one of those has been publicly disclosed and confirmed
and in the public record.''

Wizner pointed out the Hayden even discussed "waterboarding''
Tuesday in testimony before Congress.

President George W. Bush also has confirmed the existence of the
rendition program.

"Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees
have been held and the details of their confinement cannot be
divulged,'' Bush said in a September 2006 speech defending the
rendition program as a vital national security tool.

"Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could
use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country.''

On Tuesday, assistant U.S. attorney Michael Abate said Bush and
other high-ranking officials have discussed the program only in
broad terms and "this did not declassify any of the specifics.''

For instance, Abate argued the government has neither confirmed
nor denied any of the five men represented by the ACLU were ever in
CIA custody. To do so would jeopardize the agency's
intelligence-gathering abilities, Abate argued.

Outside court, the ACLU's lawyer said the CIA's opposition to the
lawsuit is the agency's latest attempt to avoid having a court rule
on the legality of its rendition program.

"No court has ever ruled on the legality of the government's
torture program,'' Wizner said.