In short, the CIA’s case rests on the stature of its director, along with its classified rebuttal.
Nonetheless, Martin and Aftergood hold out some hope that the judge will rule in their favor. “While the odds might be against them, if the CIA is ever to be defeated in court, it would be in this case,” says Aftergood. Martin added that “while it is very rare that a court rejects the CIA’s claims that information should be secret, this is the case where it could happen.”
“But given that even pre-World War I information on secret ink can’t be pried loose, the odds seem to be against them. And it’s the public that will suffer as a result,” Aftergood says. “Current CIA classification policy necessarily implies that the American public shall have no direct say in the allocation of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars,” he told the court.
“The people’s elected representatives are prohibited from revealing to their constituents how much money is at stake, or exploring alternate uses of the funds under consideration,” Aftergood said. “Conversely, timely disclosure of budget information would enable interested taxpayers to communicate to their representatives that such spending should be increased, diminished, or reallocated toward other national goals, and to hold their representatives accountable for the decisions that they make.”
Daniel G. Dupont edits the independent newsletter “Inside the Pentagon.”