Rendition Suit Against Jeppesen "Reluctantly" Dismissed

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A lawsuit brought by a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and four others that sought to hold Jeppesen Dataplan Inc responsible for aiding the CIA in flying them to secret interrogation sites was dismissed Wednesday by an appeals court. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco "reluctantly concluded" in a 6-5 vote that the possibility of exposing national security issues during trial superseded the complainants right to have their day in court. Jeppesen was described in a 2007 report as the CIA's aviation services provider. The complainants claim they were taken from the U.S. to foreign locations where they were brutally interrogated. Two of the men are currently being held abroad. The other three have been released without charges. The new ruling overturns a 2009 decision that reinstated the suit after it had been dismissed by a district court judge in 2008. The ACLU, which represents the men, plans to take their appeal to the Supreme Court (though a Supreme Court ruling was referenced in the 9th Circuit's opinion).

The 9th Circuit Court's opinion states that it arrived at its conclusion bound by a 1953 Supreme Court ruling that that "even the most compelling necessity cannot overcome the claim of privilege if the court is ultimately satisfied that [state] secrets are at stake." The court stated that "After much deliberation, we reluctantly conclude this is such a case, and the plaintiffs' action must be dismissed." The men claim they were brutally interrogated after being abducted and flown by the CIA to foreign locations where they say they were tortured. The Bush administration, which held office at the time, has said "rendition" flights were conducted but only with the guarantee that prisoners would not be tortured. A spokesman for the Obama administration's Justice Department, Matthew Miller, said the department was "pleased" by the 9th Circuit Court's decision in this case.

Review the court's opinion by clicking here (PDF).