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Gov't Grand Jury Subpoena demands "secret"


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#1 spy1

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 01:33 PM

Read the whole statement here: http://www.aclu.org/...rs20061211.html )

ACLU Challenges Government Attempt to Seize "Secret" Document (12/11/2006)

Unprecedented Grand Jury Subpoena Seeks to Confiscate Document; ACLU Files Motion to Quash in New York Court Today

NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it has asked a federal judge to quash a grand jury subpoena demanding that it turn over to the FBI "any and all copies" of a December 2005 government document in its possession.

The ACLU called the subpoena, served on November 20 by the U.S. Attorney's office in New York, a transparent attempt to intimidate government critics and suppress informed criticism and reporting.

"The government's attempt to suppress information using the grand jury process is truly chilling and is unprecedented in law and in the ACLU's history," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "This subpoena serves no legitimate investigative purpose and tramples on fundamental First Amendment rights. We recognize this maneuver for what it is: a patent attempt to intimidate and impede the work of human rights advocates like the ACLU who seek to expose government wrongdoing."

The three-and-a-half page document, issued in December 2005, is marked "Secret" and apparently is classified. The ACLU received the document, unsolicited, on October 23, 2006.

In legal papers, the ACLU said that while release of the document might be "mildly embarrassing" to the government, the ACLU's possession of it is legal and its release could in no way threaten national security. To the contrary, the ACLU said, the designation of the generally unremarkable document as "Secret" "appears to be a striking, yet typical, example of overclassification."

According to the ACLU's papers, the document concerns matters of public interest that "relate to issues of longstanding concern to the ACLU and on which the ACLU is actively engaged in ongoing public advocacy." Until the court rules on the release of the document, the ACLU has agreed not to release it or disclose its contents.

"No official secrets act has yet been signed into law, and the grand jury's subpoena power cannot be used to create one," said ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro. "The most significant thing about this case is not the content of the document but the government's unprecedented effort to suppress it."

If the government can enforce a subpoena in this way, Shapiro explained, "it could just as easily have subpoenaed the Pentagon Papers from The New York Times and Washington Post. The effect of the subpoena is no different than a prior restraint and it is equally unconstitutional."
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

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#2 spy1

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 11:28 AM

From F.A.S - http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

GOVT SUBPOENAS ACLU TO RECOVER CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT

Government attorneys reached deep into their legal bag of tricks
to devise a subpoena against the American Civil Liberties Union
demanding "any and all copies" of a classified document that was
leaked to the ACLU in October.

Questioned by an ACLU attorney as to the authority for this
demand, a government attorney cited the espionage statutes in 18
USC 793 and 798.

Such an action is unprecedented, the ACLU said in a motion to
quash the subpoena, and it is also an improper use of subpoena
authority.

If successful, this tactic could be used to confiscate classified
documents from news organizations, effectively imposing prior
restraint on publication and curtailing freedom of the press.

"No official secrets act has yet been enacted into law, and the
grand jury's subpoena power cannot be employed to create one,"
the ACLU said. See its motion to quash here:

http://www.aclu.org/...le251_27648.pdf

The subpoena against the ACLU is the latest in a series of new
government efforts to tighten controls on classified information
and to punish those who disclose such information.

A recent issue of The News Media & The Law, published by the
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, focuses on
"Journalists and the Espionage Act" and provides updates on
several ongoing cases and controversies. See:

http://www.rcfp.org/.../_contents.html
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#3 spy1

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 08:04 AM

http://www.aclu.org/...rs20061218.html

"Government Backs Down in its Attempt to Seize "Secret" Document From ACLU (12/18/2006)

Declassified Memo Sets Policy for Photographing Detainees; ACLU Fought Attempt to Make Memo "Disappear" From Its Files

NEW YORK - One week after the American Civil Liberties Union moved to quash an unprecedented government grand jury subpoena demanding "any and all copies" of a previously "secret" memorandum, the government today backed down from the fight, asking a judge to withdraw the subpoena and saying that the document in question has been declassified.

"This was a legal stand-off with enormous implications for free speech and the public's right to know, and today the government blinked," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The Bush Administration's attempt to suppress information using the grand jury process was truly chilling and is unprecedented in law and in our history as an organization. We could not be more pleased to have turned back the government from its strong-arm tactics, which were clearly aimed at silencing critics both those from within the government and those outside, such as the ACLU and members of the media."

The government today also agreed, and the judge ordered, that related documents in the case be unsealed, including a transcript of court arguments on December 11."
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

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