The real shocking part, however, is how the US government thereafter proceeded to prevent charges from being brought against those responsible. El-Masri is a German citizen and a process was well underway when the American embassy in Berlin stepped in to ensure that nothing would happen that would worsen the relationship between the two countries. Basically what the US did was to tell an ally that their legal system should function a little bit worse, or at least a little bit more like its American counterpart.
Here is the key part of the cable:
In a February 6 discussion with German Deputy National Security Adviser Rolf Nikel, the DCM [Koenig] reiterated our strong concerns about the possible issuance of international arrest warrants in the al-Masri case. The DCM noted that the reports in the German media of the discussion on the issue between the Secretary and FM Steinmeier in Washington were not accurate, in that the media reports suggest the USG [U.S. government] was not troubled by developments in the al-Masri case. The DCM emphasized that this was not the case and that issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship. He reminded Nikel of the repercussions to U.S.-Italian bilateral relations in the wake of a similar move by Italian authorities last year.
The DCM pointed out that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German Government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.
None of the major news organizations in the US appear to have covered this case. This is despite the fact that most of the details of the case have been covered in the past. The only new details seem to be that the US tried to pressure an allied country into acting a little more like the US.
It's very difficult to see just how this information would put anyone in danger or harm the national security of the United States to the degree that the White House should ask media organizations not to publish the stories. It's even more difficult to understand why - if this is correct - these organizations have gone along. I won't even try to offer an answer to that question.
Read more on this story at Salon.