This slipped by me on Friday, when I was in Cambridge plotting the next phase of Lawfare‘s expansion. The D.C. Circuit has issued an unredacted opinion in this case, Ameziane v. Obama, which actually came down in January 2010. Ameziane is not a habeas merits case; it deals, rather, with the protection of information about the diplomatic negotiations surrounding the resettlement of detainees. The opinion—by Judge Janice Rogers Brown for herself and Judges Thomas Griffith and Douglas Ginsburg—opens as follows:
This case presents another variation on the detainee theme, raising questions about what information concerning a detainee’s status can be protected from public disclosure when the detainee is anxious to reveal it. These questions arise because the government, having decided that Djamel Ameziane may be released from detention at Guantanamo Bay, has sought to designate the decision of the Guantanamo Review Task Force as “protected” information under the governing protective order. The government wants to send Ameziane back to his native country, Algeria. Ameziane does not want to go. He wants to use his Task Force transfer decision to aid him in petitioning venues he deems more attractive, like Canada or France, for resettlement. The government—fearing that dozens of detainees going into business for themselves, utilizing Task Force transfer decisions to make their own best deals, would interfere with sensitive diplomatic efforts to relocate large numbers of detainees—moved to protect all Task Force transfer decisions from premature public disclosure. The district court sided with Ameziane and the government appealed. We reverse.