Thursday, March 02, 2006

Able Danger Whistleblowers File Suit Against Defense Agencies

Men Were Not Allowed Counsel During Closed Hearings

Able Danger whistleblowers Anthony Shaffer and J.D. Smith have filed a lawsuit against the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, and against George Peirce, Robert H. Berry, Jr., William J. Haynes, II, Esq., and Tom Taylor - acting both as individuals and as counsels for the DIA, the DoD, and the Department of the Army.

Attorney for the plaintiffs Mark Zaid, with whom I participated in a conference call regarding Able Danger, has released a PDF file of the filing. The basis of the complaint (Civil Action No. 06-271 (GK)) is that Shaffer and Smith were denied their First Amendment right to counsel by the defendants during closed, classified Congressional hearings about the Able Danger program. Shaffer and Smith were not compelled to testify, but " was made clear that were Shaffer or Smith to decline to appear voluntarily they would be compelled to do so."

The suit seeks that the court direct the defendants to allow the plaintiffs' attorneys be granted access to classified material, through expedited clearance procedures, if necessary. The suit also alleges that the defendants violated their own internal rules regarding right to counsel, and seeks recovery of court and attorney fees.

The PDF file can be downloaded at the Able Danger Blog.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.