Veil of secrecy around Manning case makes a public trial "a state secret in plain sight"

New York Times media columnist David Carr has a piece out today about how reporters covering the pretrial hearings for Pfc. Bradley Manning over the past year have encountered roadblocks in accessing even the most basic information. Even such routine items as "dockets of court activity and transcripts of the proceedings" have been withheld by the government.

"A public trial over state secrets was itself becoming a state secret in plain sight," Carr writes.

In response to a flood of FOIAs from reporters and pro-transparency advocates, the court finally agreed at the end of February 2013 to release 84 of the ~400 documents filed in the case; but even those grudgingly-released documents were redacted in ways "that are mystifying at best and at times almost comic," notes Carr. "One of the redacted details was the name of the judge, who sat in open court for months."

As an aside, this was the whole point of what Freedom of the Press Foundation was trying to do here.