Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts regarding the State Secrets Protection Act (S. 417). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
As you may know, this bill was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy on February 11, 2009. The “state secrets privilege,” first recognized by the Supreme Court in 1953, lets the Government protect sensitive national security information from being disclosed as evidence in litigation. If enacted, the State Secrets Protection Act would provide guidance to the Federal courts in handling assertions of the privilege in civil cases. Among other things, it would require courts to examine the evidence for which the privilege is claimed, in order to determine whether the executive branch has validly invoked the privilege. This bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaits further action.
I believe one of the reasons we have such a vibrant democracy in this country today is largely due to the openness of our government. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity consider this legislation in future.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington state residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
United States Senator
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