White House invokes secrets privilege in eavesdropping cases
NEW YORK (AP) — The Bush administration has asked federal judges in New York and Michigan to dismiss a pair of lawsuits filed over the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, saying litigating them would jeopardize state secrets.
In papers filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers said it would be impossible to defend the legality of the spying program without disclosing classified information that could be of value to suspected terrorists.
National Intelligence Director John Negroponte invoked the state secrets privilege on behalf of the administration, writing that disclosure of such information would cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security.
The administration laid out some of its supporting arguments in classified memos that were filed under seal.
The government's motion, widely anticipated, involves two cases challenging an NSA program that allows investigators to eavesdrop on Americans who communicate with people outside the country suspected of terrorist ties.
In New York, the Center for Constitutional Rights has asked a judge to stop the program, saying it was an abuse of presidential power. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a similar lawsuit in Detroit.
The complete story may be found here: