It should be noted that in the seminal case that established the state secrets privilege, United States v. Reynolds, the government used the national security argument to hide negligence.
That original claim to privilege was retested in the early 2000s once those "secret" documents had been declassified and *still* the court found that the government had *not* abused its state secrets privilege. It may be your opinion that the government tried to hide negligence, but that's not the accepted opinion and not the one reached by many trained scholars (judges, lawyers) actually practicing in the field on a daily basis. So perhaps you should remove the tin foil hat covering your eyes every once in a while and consider that there may be more to some things than you might first think.
Now, that said, I'm no big government promoter. Far from it. You can read some of my prior comments for examples. What I don't want are for people to discredit the entire concept of major government reform by making such broad statements without addressing the (potentially legitimate) counter arguments. Taken in context, those original claims to state secret privileges seem relevant to me in this particular case.
From Wikipedia: "The radio program This American Life reported in 2009, that, contrary to claims made in the case, the accident report contained no information on the secret equipment on the plane except to note that secret equipment was present, a fact which had been reported in the press at the time. The program interviewed the daughter of one of the crash victims who described the government's claims in the case as fraudulent."
The court may have found that the government did not abuse its privilege, but I do not agree. Courts have also ruled that people who suspect they are being spied upon have no standing to find out, since the spying is classified and they can't know if they are or not. Whatever the material of my hat, court rulings do not guarantee fairness, good judgement or good policy.
The defense, as I understand it, was that the accident report was privileged information and therefore not subject to disclosure under Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, the cause of the plane crash was determined to be a fire in the engine. What does a fire in the engine have to do with secret surveillance equipment on the plane? Why would an engine fire be privileged? How would its disclosure impact national security?
I know that the families of the airmen received a settlement, so they didn't go away with nothing. But the precedent was set and it really looks to me like the government used a supposed threat to national security to avoid accountability. YMMV