The Law: Justice v. Justice

Is "national security" a legitimate legal defense against charges of criminal activity? Last week, in two different cases, the Justice Department was answering yes and no.

One case involves John Ehrlichman and three White House plumbers who are appealing their conviction for the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. During the trial, the judge refused to allow national security to be used as a defense; but in the appeal argued last week, Ehrlichman et al. renewed their claim that Ellsberg was regarded as a threat to national security, since the White House...

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