Judge Blocks NDAA Indefinite Detention Clause, Truthout FOIA Cited in Testimony

Information revealed by a Truthout Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was included in testimony presented to a federal judge in New York City who ruled this week to permanently block the United States military from enforcing part of a law allowing it to indefinitely detain anyone – including US citizens – accused of aiding terrorist organizations.

US District Judge Katherine Forrest permanently blocked the military from enforcing the controversial section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows for such indefinite detention of people accused of working with terrorists. Forrest issued a preliminary injunction against the section in May.

Within 24 hours of the ruling, President Obama’s Justice Department appealed the decision to the disappointment civil liberties groups.

Soon after the NDAA sailed through Congress and was signed by President Obama on New Year’s Day, award-winning journalist and Truthout contributor Chris Hedges filed a lawsuit arguing that his work as a war correspondent, which included interviewing terrorists, put him at risk of wrongful and indefinite detention.

The paragraph in the NDAA at issue would allow the military to hold anyone accused of having “substantially supported” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” until “the end of hostilities.”

Six other co-plaintiffs joined Hedges in the lawsuit, including author and Truthout contributor Noam Chomsky and famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Co-plaintiff Alexa O’Brien, a journalist and co-founder of the protest movement US Days of Rage, cited a Truthout FOIA request in her testimony.

O’Brien said that a federal agent confidentially notified her about a document suggesting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) planned to infiltrate US Days of Rage by linking it to the hacktivist collective Anonymous.

Included in her testimony is a memo unearthed by Truthout which states: “National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Bulletin. Details on ‘Anonymous,’ upcoming U.S. operations 17 September 2011 Occupy Wall Street, ‘U.S. Day of Rage.'”

O’Brien also testified that she learned from several sources, including leaked documents on WikiLeaks, that a private security firm and former US State Department officials had allegedly been asked to tie US Days of Rage to terrorist web sites.

The FOIA request, filed by Jason Leopold and first published with a series of stories by Truthout in March 2012, also revealed that DHS had kept tabs on the Anonymous hackers.