In the April/May “In the News,” Kevin Baker commends the Truman administration for its decision to try Axis war criminals in open courts, then states: “If it was good enough for the Greatest Generation, it should be good enough now.” But the Nuremberg trials did not take place until World War II was over. By that time the whole world knew of the Nazi leaders and their atrocities. Therefore, the introduction of intelligence secrets into evidence was never necessary.
This probably will not be true in detainee trials. Prosecutors will have to present evidence of their crimes, which will necessarily involve identification of the methods by which it was gathered. Such sources must be protected at all times. This protection will require closed courts and sealed testimony.