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Judge ‘scolds’ Bush administration on spying secrecy.

Today, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. “scolded” the Bush administration “for responding with sometimes blanket secrecy to a request for documents on its warrantless wiretapping program.” While the judge agreed that the documents could not be released, he criticized the government’s reasons for holding them back:

“While the court is certainly sensitive to the government’s need to protect classified information and its deliberative processes, essentially declaring ‘because we say so’ is an inadequate” defense, Kennedy wrote. […]

Kennedy said the Justice Department must release a list of its documents and explain why each cannot be released. Kennedy had particularly strong words for the FBI, whose response he called “wholly inadequate.”

The FBI, Kennedy said, has not explained what type of documents were being withheld, how many records it had and why each document is exempt from public records laws.

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“Instead, FBI relies on vague, broad, wholesale claims of exempt status,” Kennedy wrote.