Lying to the public is all right, says Washington’s chief lawyer

By Mark Helm, in Washington
Sydney Morning Herald, AU
March 20, 2002

The United States Government’s top lawyer has said that officials have the right to lie to American citizens, telling the US Supreme Court that misleading statements are sometimes needed to protect foreign policy interests.

“It’s easy to imagine an infinite number of situations where the government might legitimately give out false information,” the Solicitor-General, Theodore Olson, told the court on Monday.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that the issuance of incomplete information and even misinformation by government may sometimes be perceived as necessary to protect vital interests.”

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