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International arbitration

2015

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Air and Space Law

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Engines By Ge, Body By Houdini: State Secrets As A Procedural Restraint To The Resolution Of Disputes, Les Schiefelbein Aug 2015

Engines By Ge, Body By Houdini: State Secrets As A Procedural Restraint To The Resolution Of Disputes, Les Schiefelbein

Les Schiefelbein

Virtually every national government has a state secrets doctrine. The doctrine is best defined as “any information that, if disclosed publicly, would be reasonably likely to cause significant harm to the national defense or foreign relations of a government.”

Let me give state secrets some practical context and review how it is applied in the United Kingdom, the United States and France.

The best aviation description of my comments on state secrets is “Engines By GE, Body By Houdini.” The illusionist reference is an aviation descriptor of stealth airplanes whose invisibility to radar detection is like the state secret doctrine …