The Obama administration has invoked the state secret privilege in seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of the father of Yemeni-American cleric and militant Anwar al-Awlaki, which sought to prevent the U.S. government from trying to target him for assassination.
The government contended in a court filing that was submitted early Saturday morning that the case "would require the disclosure of highly sensitive national security information concerning alleged military and intelligence actions overseas."
"The plaintiff has demanded the government disclose a wide variety of classified information that could harm our national security. It strains credulity to argue that our laws require the government to disclose to an active, operational terrorist any information about how, when and where we fight terrorism, Matthew Miller, Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement Saturday.
The court filing said the injunction sought by the al-Awlaki's father "would be unprecedented, improper and extraordinarily dangerous." It would "improperly inject the courts" into the administration's decisions on "how to protect the American people from the threat of armed attacks."
Miller notes the lawsuit - which never denies Anwar al-Awlaki's militant activity - said if al-Awlaki "wishes to access our legal system," he should surrender and then "be held accountable for his actions."