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National Security Cases: Overview

National security cases often pose unusual and challenging case-management issues for the courts. Evidence or arguments may be classified; witnesses or the jury may require special security measures; attorneys’ contacts with their clients may be diminished; other challenges may present themselves.
     Terrorism prosecutions and espionage prosecutions are examples of national security criminal cases. National security can be a factor in civil cases as well, such as challenges to some government actions or programs and suits filed to enforce the Freedom of Information Act.

Key Publications

National Security Case Studies: Special Case-Management Challenges
Robert Timothy Reagan
2015, 625 pages
Cases involving national security often pose unusual and challenging case-management issues for the courts. Evidence or arguments may be classified; witnesses or the jury may require special security measures; attorneys’ contacts with their clients may be diminished; other challenges may present themselves.
     The purpose of this Federal Judicial Center resource is to document methods federal judges have employed to meet these challenges so that judges facing the challenges can learn from their colleagues’ experiences. Included are terrorism prosecutions, espionage prosecutions, other criminal cases, the Guantánamo Bay habeas corpus cases, and other civil cases. This edition adds an addendum chapter on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act litigation. The information presented is based on a review of case files and news media accounts and on interviews with the judges.

Keeping Government Secrets: A Pocket Guide on the State-Secrets Privilege, the Classified Information Procedures Act, and Classified Information Security Officers, Second Edition
Robert Timothy Reagan
2013, 49 pages
This pocket guide is designed to familiarize federal judges with statutes and procedures established to help public courts protect government secrets when courts are called upon to do so. The guide provides information about the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), information security officers, and secure storage facilities.

National Security Case Management: An Annotated Guide
Robert Timothy Reagan
2011, 65 pages
This annotated guide summarizes case-management principles that judges have found useful in national security cases. Part I concerns the handling of classified information. Part II concerns other matters. The main text of the guide summarizes lessons learned from a study of illustrative national security cases, more completely described in a companion publication, National Security Case Studies: Special Case-Management Challenges. Annotations drawn from the case studies supplement the main text with specific examples.