US: Court dismisses lawsuit on secret kidnapping

Publisher Name: 
Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A federal judge, saying the case involved
a state secret, dismissed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a unit of
Boeing Co that charged the firm helped fly terrorism suspects abroad to
secret prisons.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint in May accusing
Jeppesen Dataplan Inc of providing flight and logistical support to the
U.S. government with at least 15 aircraft on 70
"extraordinary-rendition" flights.

"In sum, at the core of plaintiffs' case against Defendant Jeppesen
are 'allegations' of covert U.S. military or CIA operations in foreign
countries against foreign nationals - clearly a subject matter which is
a state secret," Judge James Ware wrote in a ruling issued on Wednesday
evening.

The court "grants the United States' motion to dismiss on the ground
that the very subject matter of the case is a state secret."

The complaint to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
of California alleged Jeppesen "falsified flight plans to European air
traffic control authorities to avoid public scrutiny of CIA flights."

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of five men who say the CIA had
them flown to foreign prisons for interrogations and torture. The
plaintiffs are an Ethiopian living in Britain; an Italian who was
working in Pakistan; an Egyptian citizen living in Sweden; a Yemeni;
and an Iraqi who is a British resident.

The government argued the case should be dismissed because they could not confirm details of the operations.

Those details "include whether any private entities or other
countries assisted the CIA in conducting the program; the dates and
locations of any detentions and interrogations; the methods of
interrogation employed in the program; and the names of any individuals
detained and interrogated by the CIA (other than fifteen individuals
whose identities have been divulged so that they can be brought to
trial)," the U.S. government said in its filing last year.

The judge mentioned he had reviewed a classified declaration from
Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, in its assessment of the case.

"The Court's review of General Hayden's public and classified
declarations confirm that proceeding with this case would jeopardize
national security and foreign relations and that no protective
procedure can salvage this case," Ware wrote.

(Reporting by Adam Tanner; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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