Here is why the new Binyam Mohamed case disclosures are so important -- and worrisome for the U.S. government. Remember, Mohamed is the lead plaintiff in the Jeppesen case, currently pending before the Ninth Circuit. Jeppesen allegedly helped to plan the CIA's rendition flights -- and Mohamed wants to hold them accountable.
As ACLU counsel Ben Wizner points out, the government routinely insists on the distinction between public information and publicly confirmed information. That is -- just because some bit of classified information is widely known does not mean that the government has acknowledged it. And only information that the government has acknowledged can beat, in U.S. courts, a state secrets claim.
Well -- now, the British publicly confirm that the U.S. admitted, fairly directly, that Momahed was indeed subject to the conduct that he has alleged -- evidence of which the U.S. government has tried to suppress by invoking the state secrets doctrine. The U.K. court revealed that the U.S. government informed the U.K. government of its conduct.
This isn't hearsay -- the U.S. government is on the record as having urged the U.K. government to not disclose precisely the information that was disclosed today. "The release of this document removes a brick in the wall of the immunity regime," Wizner says. He's right. I'm sure the judges will read this decision carefully.