A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Jan. 9 that lawyers for a detainee at Guantánamo Bay may not review top secret documentation. Wali Mohammed Morafa, who has been detained for financially aiding the operations of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, requested for some top secret documentations concerning source-related information which the government refused to disclose. Instead the government offered an alternate secret version without substitutes for some source information. Morafa’s lawyers have clearance for only secret but not top secret information.
Relying on the discretion given to the lower courts by the 2008 US Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush, Judge Rosemary Collyer held that “Top Secret source information is not reasonably available to those with Secret clearances.” She acknowledged the burden on Morafa’s lawyers that may result from her ruling but she stated that the value of the requested information is merely minimal allowing the lawyers to present their case without such. Moreover, because source-related information is highly sensitive and Morafa has access to edited versions of the substance deriving from such, there is a stronger interest in protecting national security by keeping the identity of the sources confidential.
From Jurist, Jan. 10. Used with permission.