Open Records Result in Secret Courts, Really?

images-1Third party review…What a concept.

Congress got its requested report on drone strikes that recently killed some U.S. nationals on foreign soil, and now Congress is proposing that there be some kind of system for review of plans before drone strikes are launched.

What is being proposed is a secret court, something like the system we already have for wiretaps and search warrants that the Executive branch wants to keep under wraps forever.  Really? We already know how maddening the secret courts are for other purposes.  The Congress doesn’t even get to know how much is being spent, let alone who and where the courts hear requests.

According to weekend news outlets, like the Washington Post, Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, said he would like to see some review of orders before the drones strikes.

“It just makes me uncomfortable that the president — whoever it is — is the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner, all rolled into one,” King was quoted in the Washington Post as saying. “So I’m not suggesting something that would slow down response, but where there is time to go in and submit it to a third party that is a court, in confidence, and get a judgment that, yes there, is sufficient evidence here.”

Secret orders evaluated by secret courts.  I get the national security thing, but how much wrangling does Congress want to do each time it doesn’t like what the Executive branch is doing? Have we learned anything from the secret courts established for homeland security? Anything at all?


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