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Claim of Privilege: A Mysterious Plane Crash, a Landmark Supreme Court…
by Barry Siegel
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060777028, Hardcover)
On October 6, 1948, a U.S. Air Force B-29 Superfortress crashed soon after takeoff, killing three civilian engineers and six crew members. In June 1949, the engineers' widows filed suit against the government, determined to find out what exactly had happened to their husbands and why the three civilians had been on board the airplane in the first place. But it was the dawn of the Cold War and the Air Force refused to hand over any documents, claiming they contained classified information. The legal battle ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which in 1953 handed down a landmark decision that would, in later years, enable the government to conceal gross negligence and misconduct, block troublesome litigation, and detain criminal suspects without due-process protections.
Claim of Privilege is a mesmerizing true account of a shameful incident and its lasting impact on our nation—the gripping story of a courageous fight to right a past wrong and a powerful indictment of governmental abuse in the name of national security.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)
In 1948, three civilian engineers were killed in an Air Force plane crash while testing secret navigational equipment. The widows filed suit, but the Air Force, at the dawn of the Cold War, refused to hand over accident reports and witness statements, claiming the documents contained classified information that would threaten national security. In 1953 the Supreme Court sided with the Air Force in United States v. Reynolds, formally recognizing the "state secrets" privilege, a legal precedent since used to conceal conduct, withhold documents, block troublesome litigation, and, most recently, detain terror suspects without due process. A half century later, the government revealed the "top-secret" information--there were no national security secrets, but rather a shocking chronicle of negligence. This book tells the story of this shameful incident, and the dangerous consequences of this historic cover-up: the violation of civil liberties and the abuse of constitutional protections.--From publisher description.
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