An Obama administration lawyer is urging a federal appeals court panel to throw out a lawsuit accusing a San Jose company and Boeing Co. subsidiary of illegally helping the CIA secretly fly terrorism suspects overseas to be tortured.
The Justice Department said Monday that national security would be threatened if the lawsuit moved forward.
In arguing for the suit to be tossed, the Obama White House maintained the same position as the Bush administration on the case -- disappointing the American Civil Liberties Union and others, who had called on the Obama administration to change its position.
The lawsuit alleges the San Jose-based subsidiary, Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., provided airplanes and crews to the CIA to carry out an "extraordinary rendition" program that included torture.
Vincent Warren, the director of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, sharply criticized Obama.
“I could not be more disappointed: In its first real case, the Obama administration has chosen to continue the Bush administration’s policy of secrecy before justice despite all the uplifting rhetoric about transparency," said Vincent Warren. "The Bush administration invoked the State Secrets privilege more than any other administration in history to keep embarrassing cases out of court. The question is, when will Obama roll back the illegal expansion of executive power he has inherited?”