August 15, 2012
District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled that “the state secrets privilege may unfortunately mean the sacrifice of individual liberties for the sake of national security,” the LA Times reported.A US federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against the FBI over the agency’s controversial practice of spying on California Muslims, arguing the disclosure of a potentially unconstitutional domestic spy program might reveal sensitive state secrets.
Judge Carney claims to have reached his conclusion after reviewing confidential statements by top FBI officials. The judge ruled that the domestic espionage program – dubbed Operation Flex – involved “intelligence that, if disclosed, would significantly compromise national security.”
The lawsuit against the FBI was filed jointly by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in 2011, on behalf of the Muslim community in Orange Country, California.
The litigants claim the FBI violated their civil liberties by employing an undercover informant, identified as Craig Monteilh, in a dragnet operation that targeted individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs. Monteilh infiltrated local mosques and installed bugging devices in offices, homes and places of worship.
ACLU attorney Peter Bibring said the ruling is “terribly unfortunate that there’s a doctrine in the law that allows courts to throw out cases that allege serious constitutional violations based on secret evidence the judge reviews behind closed doors that never sees the light of day,” the LA Times cited him as saying. “That shouldn’t be in a democratic society.”
The plaintiffs vowed to appeal the decision.
- Federal judge throws out lawsuit over spying on O.C. Muslims (latimes.com)
- Judge: Security at risk in O.C. Muslims suit (ocregister.com)
- Judge sides with FBI in OC Muslim spying suit (rt.com)
- Judge sides with FBI in Orange County Muslim spying suit (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- FBI Muslim spying lawsuit against U.S. is tossed by judge (latimesblogs.latimes.com)