Thursday, June 17, 2010

Federal judge: Unveiling Posada Carriles documents would threaten national security

Havana billboard, 2004

Federal Judge Kathleen Cardone said earlier this month that disclosure of classified government documents in the Luis Posada Carriles case "could be expected to cause serious damage to national security."
So she will keep the documents private.
National security concerns outweigh the right of the public and the defendant to see the material, which the prosecution presented to the judge behind closed doors.
Cardone's June 3 ruling said it would be "impractical" to make public "meaningful redacted materials" because even that would "divulge classified materials."
In other Posada Carriles news,  prosecutor Rebekah Lee Sittner is no longer on the case. She asked the court to allow her to withdraw from the case on June 8 and Cardone granted her wish.
A court document said Sittner was transferred to the Office of Law and Policy in the DOJ's National Security Division and was no longer assigned to the Posada Carriles case. The document said:
The United States is still represented by and through Michael J. Mullaney, Acting U.S. Attorney, and T.J. Reardon III, Jerome J. Teresinski, and Paul Ahern, Trial Attorneys, Counterterrorism Section, National Security Division, United States Department of Justice.
That's four prosecutors. Another seven prosecutors are listed on the court docket. Glancing at that earlier, I had the mistaken impression that the prosecution team was almost a dozen strong.
But evidently many of the lawyers still listed aren't on the case anymore.
One is David Deitch. I Googled his name and discovered he left the case in 2007. In an interview with NPR, he expressed some frustration over the U.S. government's inclination to favor domestic spying and intelligence gathering over prosecutions and indictments. He told NPR:
There were certainly times when you felt like you were at loggerheads.
Sometimes, he said, the FBI was unwilling to declassify information. He said:
...that could be a stumbling block and sometimes an insurmountable one to going forward with a prosecution.

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