Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A defensive tactic in an espionage trial whereby the accused threatens to reveal secret information unless the charges are dropped.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The threatened exposure of state secrets in order to manipulate legal proceedings.

Etymologies

gray1 + (black)mail.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From gray + mail, by analogy with blackmail (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In the past, defense lawyers have used what is some call graymail to demand all sorts of sensitive information that the government doesn't want to make it public, then they simply have to walk away from the case.

    CNN Transcript Mar 10, 2006

  • The majority of what was left was something we refer to as graymail, and when thinking about how to deal with graymail, it became clear that the fundamental problem wasn't just which things to accept or reject.

    Site Home

  • A Threat in Black and White graymail Prosecutors, on the other hand, say their requests for secrecy are valid and prevent the defendant from bullying prosecutors into dropping their case for fear of disclosing sensitive information, a practice commonly referred to as "graymail."

    Week in Words

  • Prosecutors, on the other hand, say their requests for secrecy are valid and prevent the defendant from bullying prosecutors into dropping their case for fear of disclosing sensitive information, a practice commonly referred to as "graymail."

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • Roughly 18% of emails received were spam, comprising both actual spam and "graymail" i.e. unwanted newsletters, alerts, etc.

    Brett King: Too Much Content: A World of Exponential Information Growth

  • KESSLER: There is a "graymail" statue that does permit evidence to be shown to a jury and a judge without making it public.

    CNN Transcript May 12, 2002

  • The rules of evidence likely are what the government most desires to evade, once putatively having reached beyond Geneva articles, and contorted MCA's untested rendition of habeas in its various forms; [the instant case in re K. al-Marri being the test]; Padilla's suit has worked toward the realm of admissible evidence; the foregoing link is JB's discussion recently and a newspaper article; here is another pointer to a government exhibit in the matter of the government's worries that MKhan would receive permission to testify about the same things Padilla wants to discuss in open public record court; i.e., a kind of graymail argument by defense in those two cases; that exhibit appearing in the weblog there.

    Balkinization

  • Faced with graymail, federal prosecutors can utilize the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), whereby prosecutors can seek the court's permission to withhold particularly sensitive information.

    Pressure Building for Executive Decision on the Trial of 9/11 Mastermind

  • By pushing for discovery of sensitive intelligence information, terrorist defense counsels aim to raise the intelligence cost of prosecuting a case to a point where the government drops the case -- a practice known as "graymail."

    Pressure Building for Executive Decision on the Trial of 9/11 Mastermind

  • The majority also warns of graymail, the threat such types of litigation may pose, but as the dissent points out, that danger exists in any suit allowed against government officials.

    Judge H. Lee Sarokin: What Foul Deeds Lie Beneath the Cloak of National Security

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