Comment On President Obama’s Remarks On State Secrets

As President Obama pointed out today in his speech at the National Archives, “[w]e must not protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrasses the government.”  The President today raised his own concerns that the state secrets privilege has been “over-used.” He promised to embrace reform and to apply “a stricter legal test” to material before the government asserts the privilege and to report to Congress.

I am encouraged by this new President’s willingness to work with Congress, the refusal to do so is one of the reasons that the policies of the last administration were such a failure.  I support the President’s vow to “deal with Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government”  and I stand ready and willing to work with him on this issue.  I believe that the State Secrets Protection Act that I reintroduced this Congress is a good starting point. This legislation codifies the privilege in an effective way that balances the protection of national security with appropriate judicial review. I look forward to working with the administration and others in Congress on how best to move this important legislation forward.

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