US Invokes State Secrets to Block Lawsuit Challenging Kill List

Judge dismisses lawsuit, saying govt has absolute right to secrets

On Tuesday, a US judge dismissed a major lawsuit by a US-born journalist challenging his placement on a US “kill list” and the government’s plans to assassinate him, after the Trump Administration invoked “state secrets” privilege to insist the details must remain secret.

Bilal Abdul Kareem, the journalist in question, had filed the lawsuit in 2017, seeking his removal from the “Disposition Matrix,” a secret list of people, including US citizens, that the president intends to kill. Abdul Kareem argued he was entitled to due process before being killed, and was challenging the process of killing citizens without notice or legal challenge.

The Trump Administration argued that the trial would reveal the “existence and operational details” of anti-terror operations. Prosecutors also argued that even admitting that Abdul Kareem is on the kill list would potentially compromise his future assassination by the government.

The judge confirmed that the Plaintiff had a serious challenge to this, but that as soon as the government cited state secrets, which was an “absolute” right, the case had to be dismissed. She added that there was no reason to accept lawyers’ proposal that people on the kill list have any due process protections.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of