In trying to sort out litigation over the federal government’s once-secret wire-tapping program, three 9th Circuit judges wanted to know whether a bit more candor from the government could make one suit go away. And in another, they seemed inclined to dismiss it themselves.

At a Wednesday hearing on two cases over the spying program that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, Judges Harry Pregerson, M. Margaret McKeown and Michael Daly Hawkins seemed offended by the government’s wide-ranging invocation of the state secrets privilege but also unlikely to give plaintiffs lawyers everything they want.

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