March 31st, 2010
01:25 AM ET

Judge approves settlement in 'state secrets' case

A federal judge in Washington Tuesday sharply criticized the government but grudgingly approved a $3 million government payout in a case which the Obama administration managed to keep under wraps to protect national secrets.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth scolded the government for invoking the "state secrets" defense in a long-running dispute in which a former DEA agent alleged his home in Burma was illegally wiretapped by a CIA agent. The DEA was at odds with the CIA over how to deal with Burmese drug trafficking.

Under the state-secrets policy, courts can be restricted in cases in which government secrets could be released.

Ending a 15-year legal fight, the government agreed to pay DEA agent Richard Horn $3 million, but the government did not admit wrongdoing.

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