Washington Law Review


One of the rules most frequently invoked to exclude evidence is that of the privileged communication—between husband and wife, attorney and client or physician and patient. In contrast, a voice claiming the privilege to exclude evidence because it involves military secrets has seldom been heard in the courtroom. Yet it is recognized as a genuine testimonial privilege of early origin. In the present era of intensive military preparation—often of a nature most secret, yet in close contact with civilian life—it is appropriate to examine the scope and mechanics of the privilege. At the outset a word of limitation is necessary. This discussion relates essentially to the privilege related to military secrets; it does not deal with any broad Executive privilege or immunity.

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