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Court Backs Bush Administration: Names of Foreign Detainees Need Not be Disclosed
Nick Simeone
Washington
17 Jun 2003, 17:33 UTC

A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled the government does not have to release the names of hundreds of foreigners it has detained in the on-going investigation of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks two years ago, saying that doing so could impede the war on terrorism. A lower court had ordered the Justice Department to disclose the names of those being held.

This ruling accepts the government's view that disclosing the identities of the more than seven hundred foreigners held for questioning in connection with the 2001 attacks would give al-Qaida or other terrorist groups a composite picture of the government's investigation and, in doing so, a chance to evade or obstruct it.

The case was brought by several public interest groups, which objected to the Justice Department decision not to disclose detailed information about those detained. But the appeals court ruled America is now facing an enemy just as real as it did during the Cold War, and said the judicial branch of government is not in a position to second guess top counter-terrorism experts on a matter involving the nation's security.

But the ruling was not unanimous and in a dissenting opinion, one appeals court judge criticized the court for accepting what he called the government's vague and poorly explained arguments for withholding information about the detainees, most of whom have now been deported after being picked up on immigration violations.



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