National Briefing | Washington: Staying the Bush Course in Court

    The Justice Department indicated that it was not backing away from the argument used by the Bush administration that courts should use national security concerns to block a lawsuit brought by an Islamic group that says its rights had been violated. Department lawyers filed papers with a Federal District Court in San Francisco asking for a stay in a judge’s ruling that the “state secrets” doctrine could not be used in the Islamic group’s lawsuit. The group, al-Haramain, has argued that its officers and lawyers were illegally wiretapped in a secret surveillance program by the National Security Administration. The Justice Department under President Bush invoked the state secrets doctrine in asking the court to dismiss the case.