RTNDA Challenges DOJ for Access to 9/11 Case


The Radio-Television News Directors Association and some major national news organizations are squaring off against the Justice Department to get access to a court challenge of the government’s detention of a Florida man with alleged connections to the 9/11 hijackers. The case has reached the Supreme Court, where RTNDA Tuesday filed a motion to intervene.

Such motions are usually filed at the district court level, but the challenge of Mohammed K. Bellahouel to the legality of his incarceration was kept off the docket in the Miami district court, says RTNDA. The omission was discovered by the Miami Daily Business Review when the challenge was inadvertently listed at the federal appeals court level. It was later put back on the docket with the majority of the information sealed.

RTNDA says the court should let it become a party to the case "so that the legitimate interests of the press and the public to cover judicial proceedings, particularly those associated with the government’s post-September 11 detentions, are adequately represented."

Those proceedings have been secret, and Justice has filed a motion to keep its arguments in the case sealed. Among those joining RTNDA in the motion were ABC, CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times.