Precinct 333

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Secret Laws?

We can argue about whether or not John Gilmore is right in his suit to end mandatory ID checks at airports. He argues government mandated checks are no different than the internal passports that some totalitarian governments require. I find that debatable, though I agree with his assertion that showing identification does absolutely nothing to make air travel safer.

But Gilmore is absolutely right on one point.
"The hardest question to answer is 'show me the law, the regulation, and the rule that requires this,' and none of them could, and never have," Mr. Gilmore said.
The government maintains that there is a law prohibiting the disclosure of SSI, and administration officials have the power to prohibit the disclosure of any information that would "harm transportation security."

Get that -- the government is unwilling to disclose the law, the regulation, or rule that actually requires that identification be shown, despite admitting that showing is legally required!

It gets even more hairy in court.
The Justice Department says it will identify the law in a court case brought against it and the Homeland Security Department by Mr. Gilmore, but only if the secret reasons for its top-secret status remain under a court seal.
"The government would also file and serve a redacted, unsealed version of the brief as well. That procedure will adequately safeguard any sensitive security information [SSI] while permitting this court's independent review of the merits of plaintiffs' claim," said the request filed by the Justice Department on Sept. 3.

In other words, not only are We, The People, not allowed to know what the law, regulation, or rule is, but We, The People, are not even allowed to know why we are not allowed to know what the law, regulation, or rule is -- and they are willing to disclose such information to a court only on the condition that We, The People, are not allowed to know the arguments that support not allowing us to know why we are not allowed to know what the law, regulation or rule is.

Sorry, folks, but such a situation is the absolute betrayal of the concepts that underlie our system of government.


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