December 03, 2004

Magic words

In today's good news department, it seems the words "national security" haven't yet attained the shamanistic power to establish secret government whenever they are spoken.

The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals has suspended a preliminary hearing for three soldiers charged with murdering an Iraqi general, and given the officer in charge of the hearing ten days to show why the non-classified portions of the hearing should not be open to the public.

Capt. Robert Ayers had taken the rare step of closing the entire hearing to the public on the grounds of "national security" and the risks of publicity to the defendants.

Legal analysts said it was extremely rare for a military preliminary hearing to be closed to the public, and appeals courts frown on such decisions. Media attorney Steve Zansberg had asked Ayers to close only portions of the hearing that could threaten national security.

"This is information the American people are profoundly and legitimately interested in knowing," he told Ayers on Thursday. He also said many details in the death have already been publicized.

Posted by Carey at December 3, 2004 10:31 PM