NSA case: classified information could be introduced in code

"...Federal prosecutors in the espionage case against a former National Security Agency employee, who allegedly gave classified information to a Baltimore Sun reporter, want to invoke a little-used rule that allows them to use code words in the courtroom — making portions of a public trial private.

The "silent witness rule," is meant to minimize the disclosure of classified information by allowing only those directly involved in a case — the judge, jury, witnesses, lawyers and defendants — to see it. Any public discussion of the secret details must be done in code.

"They literally have a key, a glossary, that the jury would have that the public would not," said Abbe D. Lowell, a Washington, D.C., defense attorney. He argued against the rule's use in an espionage case that was filed (and later dropped) against two pro-Israel lobbyists..."


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