I previously wrote here about the extraordinary findings of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in Horn v. Huddle. See my posts of August 28 and November 12, 2009. Judge Lamberth found that officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including Director George Tenet and an agency attorney, made material and intentional misrepresentations to the Court.
Yesterday, Judge Lamberth approved a $3 million settlement, and vacated his prior orders finding the misconduct by the CIA officials and the attorney. However, Judge Lamberth did so with some misgivings, particularly that, "it does not appear that any government officials have been held accountable for this loss to the taxpayer. This is troubling to the Court." In vacating the Court's earlier findings, Judge Lamberth noted on page 4 that his prior findings all already in the public record, and even published, for all to read. Horn v. Huddle, 647 F.Supp.2d 55 (D.D.C. 2009); Horn v. Huddle, 636 F.Supp.2d 10 (D.D.C. 2009). Judge Lamberth expressed appreciation for Attorney General Eric Holder's September 23, 2009, memorandum called, "Policies and Procedures Governing Invocation of the State Secrets Privilege." He attached a copy to his opinion. He noticed that the memorandum provides for notification of inspectors general and of Congress when the state secrets privilege is invoked to conceal information about wrongdoing by government officials. Judge Lamberth states that sealed information in the case does reveal such wrongdoing, in this case by the inspectors general of both the State Department and the CIA. Judge Lamberth asked for a report from the Attorney General about whether the notification described in the policy memorandum would be made to Congress on that information. The judge held in abeyance the motion to vacate two of his ordered until he hears from the Attorney General. Judge Lamberth also issued a separate order.