The Washington Times - May 13, 2009, 09:12PM

The Montpelier conference on terrorism and the law wrapped up Wednesday with sessions on state secrets privileges and on targeted killings of foreign enemies.

Matthew Gerke and Justin Florence of the Georgetown Center on National Security and Law went over their paper, which explains how Congress needs to clarify that just by claiming the state secrets privilege, the government should not be able to automatically get cases dismissed. Cases should go forward as often as possible even if the classified information cannot be admitted, and judges should also review the information to ensure that it is indeed classified, they said.

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Kenneth Anderson of the Washington College of Law at American University talked about how much of the world no longer agrees with the U.S. position that American security forces can use remote-control drone aircraft and other robotics to eliminate foreign targets, and went over the legal framework he thinks needs to be constructed to defend American personnel from legal action in the future. I’ll post a link to that paper when it’s online.

On a side note, the historical Madison estate at Montpelier is quite a work in progress. It has undergone a five-year renovation process to remove additions to the original house that were put on by the Dupont family, and now that the exterior is restored, the curators are working on the interior. It’s worth a visit now and then a few years later when all the work is done.

— Jon Ward, White House reporter, The Washington Times

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