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Briefs (right)

FBI Translator’s Wrongful
Termination Case Rejected

By Linda Greenhouse

The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal by a former FBI translator of Middle Eastern languages who asserted that she was terminated for trying to expose ineptitude and espionage within the bureau’s translation section.

Two lower federal courts dismissed her lawsuit for retaliatory termination, accepting the federal government’s argument that the case could not proceed without revealing state secrets. Under the so-called state secrets privilege, recognized by the Supreme Court 50 years ago, a lawsuit must be dismissed when there is no alternative to protect national security.

In her appeal, the translator, Sibel Edmonds, who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the lower courts misapplied the privilege in dismissing her lawsuit before discovery and without making a sufficient effort to consider evidence that was not privileged.

Edmonds also challenged the exclusion of the public and the press from the courtroom in which the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard her appeal in April.

The appeals court ordered the courtroom closed even though the government informed the judges the previous week that it was “prepared to argue this case publicly, in an open courtroom.” A transcript of the argument was released later.

Harper’s Magazine Is Set
To Name Its Next Editor

By David Carr

Harper’s Magazine is an intellectual hothouse that tends to grow its own. The magazine will announce Tuesday that Roger D. Hodge, 38, will succeed Lewis H. Lapham as editor in April, and Hodge is no exception. After being turned down for an internship in 1996, he got a call back a few days later and has remained planted at the magazine since, holding a variety of jobs, most recently serving as deputy editor.

Then again, Hodge was born and raised in Del Rio, Texas, and as the son of a rancher knows his way around cattle, sheep and a gun. The family spread is now a hunting ground, and Hodge’s gimlet eye extends beyond raw copy to the scope of a rifle.

“I’m a very good shot; at least I was when I was a kid,” Hodge said Monday, sitting in Lupa restaurant in Manhattan. John R. MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper’s, said he was happy both that the new editor of the magazine comes from within and that he grew up as an outsider to Manhattan publishing life.

“We have had many talented people here that have gone on to edit other magazines, and I have thought for a long time that Roger was a keeper and that we should make sure that we hang on to him,” MacArthur said.