Judge Carney’s Ruling
The US Government Won’t be Charged With Perjury Even When It’s Caught in a Lie
By SALLY EBERHARDT
A chilling court decision unsealed at the end of April by a federal judge in California’s Central District reveals that the Obama administration is not only prepared to take advantage of the lies of the Bush administration, but is willing to up the ante. In a case that involved extensive surveillance of Muslim community groups and leaders, the Obama administration has now argued that the government not only can lie about its surveillance activities to American citizens but can, in turn, lie to federal judges when “national security” is involved. And, despite his strongly worded April 27 decision censuring the government for lying, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ultimately ruled that the government can both withhold the requested surveillance documents and escape censure for lying.
Carney’s ruling, which has gone under the radar of most mainstream and independent media (with a lone 420-word editorial in the Los Angeles Times being the only mainstream coverage), chastises the U.S. government. But, that’s as far as Carney would go. The government will not be charged with contempt of court or perjury nor will it face any other kind of official sanction. In effect, the government can lie and conduct whatever kinds of surveillance it wants without accountability or repercussions for overreach.
The origins of the current case, Islamic Shura Council of Southern California et al. v. the Federal Bureau of Investigation, et al., stretch back to 2006 and involve six Muslim organizations – the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, the Council on American Islamic Relations-California (CAIR), the Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley, the Islamic Center of Hawthorne, the West Coast Islamic Center, the Human Assistance and Development International, Inc.- and five Muslim community leaders. These men and groups were among the first Muslim Americans to meet and share information with the FBI after 9/11, and include individuals like Mohammed Abdul Aleem, who served as a government witness for the U.S. Department of Justice in a 2004 terrorism case in Idaho.