Oh, no, what about terrorists learning our secrets?!

One of the dumber arguments against trying KSM in New York is that somehow terrorists are going to learn all of our top secret methods (who knew the U.S. uses waterboarding?).  The truth is federal judges routinely bend over backwards to protect any information the government deems secret.  Glenn Greenwald strenuously makes the argument here (actually, I don't think there's any arguments Greenwald doesn't make strenuously):

Once conservatives became embarrassed by their cowardly warnings
that we would all be killed if we held a 9/11 trial in New York, they
switched to a new argument:  trials in a real court would lead to the
disclosure of classified information that would help the Terrorists…

To see how false this claim is, all anyone ever had to do was look at the Classified Information Procedures Act, a short and crystal clear 1980 law that not only permits, but requires, federal courts to undertake extreme measures to ensure the concealment of classified information, even including concealment from the defendant himself

Even during the Bush years, numerous defendants accused of terrorist
acts were tried and convicted in federal courts — John Walker Lindh,
Richard Reid, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ali al-Marri, Jose Padilla.  Those
spewing the latest right-wing scare tactic (Osama bin Laden will learn everything if we have trials!)
cannot point to a single piece of classified information that was
disclosed as a result of any of these trials.  If that were a
legitimate fear, wouldn't they be able to?  Like most American
institutions, our federal court system is empowered to shield from
public disclosure anything the government claims is secret.

Next totally false conservative argument?

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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