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Chairman Nadler Issues Statement on Attorney General Barr and ADNI Grenell Invocation of 'State Secrets' Doctrine

Washington, D.C. —Last week, Attorney General William P. Barr and Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell invoked the “state secrets” doctrine to prevent 9/11 families from obtaining documents necessary to pursue their lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its alleged complicity with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  In response, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement:

“The 9/11 families have fought tirelessly for nearly two decades to bring to justice all those associated with the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  It is outrageous that the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community are now asserting the fatally flawed “state secrets” doctrine to prevent access to information the families need in order to pursue their claims against Saudi Arabia—without any opportunity for independent review of the information being concealed.

The state secrets doctrine undermines the rule of law by giving the Executive the ability to dismiss a case or withhold information without having to prove to a court that it has legitimate concerns about revealing sensitive national security information—and that it is not simply using it as an excuse to shield embarrassing or illegal acts or information.  That is why I have introduced the “State Secret Protection Act” in previous years and will reintroduce this vital legislation in the weeks to come to ensure independent judicial review of state secrets claims.

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