[JURIST] The US Department of Justice has asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to dismiss [ACLU press release] a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan [corporate website] on the grounds that the case would disclose classified information regarding the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) [official website] extraordinary rendition [JURIST archive] program. Jeppeson Dataplan, a subsidiary of Boeing [corporate website], is being sued by five individuals, Binyam Muhammad, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Bisher al-Rawi, and Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, over the company's role in the extraordinary rendition program. The government's assertion of the state secrets privilege, which allows the US government to halt litigation on national security grounds, in its Friday filing is similar to arguments made in other national security cases. Reuters has more.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit [complaint, PDF; JURIST report] in May, alleging that Jeppesen Dataplan knowingly supported direct flights to secret CIA prisons, facilitating the torture and mistreatment of US detainees. The ACLU alleges that Jeppesen played a key role in the extraordinary rendition flights by providing a number of vital services including itinerary, route, weather, and fuel planning, as well as obtaining over-flight and landing permits from foreign governments. The ACLU was originally representing three of the five: Muhammad, currently being detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], Elkassim Britel, currently in a Moroccan prison, and Agiza, currently in an Egyptian prison. The two additional plaintiffs, who have alleged they were kidnapped by the CIA and tortured in Afghanistan, joined the lawsuit [JURIST report] in August. Al-Rawi was held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years before being released [JURIST report] to the United Kingdom, where he holds residency.