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Our Government Has Been Declaring Children’s Nosebleeds a State Secret

At some point the courts are going to have start calling bullshit on the government’s transparent attempts to use State Secrets to hide embarrassing information.

From Charlie Savage, we have the story of Kevin Shipp, who tried to sue the CIA for all the medical problems his family suffered from being housed in a house infested with toxic mold at Camp Stanley, outside of San Antonio.

The Shipps soon began to get sick. First, they got nosebleeds, then developed symptoms that doctors said resembled H.I.V. infection or exposure to radiation, family members said. Eventually, Kevin Shipp said, he discovered that the house was full of a spreading black substance.


Suspicious of a cover-up, Mr. Shipp said he sent samples from the house to a scientist at Texas Tech University. His manuscript includes a Texas Tech report showing that the samples tested positive for toxic mold.

Shipp sued and, in 2003, the CIA settled for $400,000. But two days later, the CIA reneged on the settlement. And when Shipp further pursued his suit, the CIA invoked state secrets, so the judge dismissed the suit.

And when Shipp submitted his manuscript for pre-publication review to the Agency, they redacted details about–among other things–his children’s nosebleeds.

He says that he submitted the manuscript to the agency for the required prepublication review but that it blacked out swaths of information, like accounts of his children’s nosebleeds, strange rashes, vomiting, severe asthma and memory loss.

On some issues, Article III judges have shown their ability to stand up to the government’s ridiculous claims.

After this memoir, I really hope judges begin to show some spine on State Secrets. By now, the assumption should be the government is invoking State Secrets for some stupid reason.

Like an embarrassing nosebleed.

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