State Secrets Privilege Should Be Modified, Says President Obama

Sherry Harowitz

In his 100th-day press conference on April 29, President Barack Obama said that the State Secrets Privilege should be modified. He also indicated that he would push this year for procurement reform legislation and immigration reform, coupled with improved border security.

With regard to the State Secrets Privilege, President Obama said at the press conference, "There should be some additional tools so that it's not such a blunt instrument." He said that his administration was working on that "as we speak."

The State Secrets Privilege, which the Bush Administration reportedly used more than 20 times, has been controversial in its use as a way of preventing cases from being litigated, and there have been efforts to reform it. 

The President also said unequivocally that he viewed waterboarding as torture, saying that whatever legal justifications were found, it was a mistake and that the question wasn't whether it yielded useful intelligence but rather whether that information could have been obtained in another way as well as whether the process made us safer in the end. He said that keeping the country safe while staying true to "who we are" was the goal.


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