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Ninth Circuit Tosses CIA Rendition Claims Citing State Secrets

By Caleb Groos on September 09, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of all claims by five plaintiffs who claimed to have been victims of the CIA's Extraordinary Redition Program. Specifically, the men sued Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing Company which the plaintiffs allege provided flight planning and logistical support services to the aircraft and crew used to transport the plaintiffs to detention facilities in Afghanistan and Morocco. At these facilities and others, plaintiffs allege they were interrogated, tortured and detained for multiple years. According to the en banc decision, state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the case "because there is no feasible way to litigate Jeppesen's alleged liability without creating an unjustifiable risk of divulging state secrets."

The government argued that four categories of information are state secrets which must be protected from this lawsuit:

  • "information that would tend to confirm or deny whether Jeppesen or any other private entity assisted the CIA with clandestine intelligence activities;"
  • "information about whether any foreign government cooperated with the CIA in clandestine intelligence activities;"
  • "information about the scope or operation of the CIA terrorist detention and interrogation program;" and
  • "any other information concerning CIA clandestine intelligence operations that would tend to reveal intelligence activities, sources, or methods."

The Ninth Circuit stated that secrets within one or more of these categories would be threatened should the lawsuit proceed. It would not say which, for fear of disclosing state secrets.

Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.: Ninth Circuit En Banc Opinion

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