Justice Department orders secrecy for files of anti-Iran advocacy group

United Against Nuclear Iran's website.


United Against Nuclear Iran's website.

The US administration "committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government" went to court to keep secret the files of a powerful anti-Iran lobbying group, arguing that the group's documents probably contain "information the government does not want disclosed." The Justice Department has ordered in favor of the White House argument, and the group's files will be protected.

Matt Apuzzo in the New York Times:

The highly unusual move by the Justice Department raises questions about the connections between the American government and the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, a hard-line voice seeking to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The group has a roster of prominent former government officials and a reputation for uncovering information about companies that sometimes do business with Iran, in violation of international sanctions.

The Justice Department has temporarily blocked the group from having to reveal its donor list and other internal documents in a defamation lawsuit filed by a Greek shipping magnate the group accused of doing business with Iran. Government lawyers said they had a “good faith basis to believe that certain information” would jeopardize law enforcement investigations, reveal investigative techniques or identify confidential sources if released.

UANI president Gary Samore was President Obama’s top adviser for countering unconventional weapons during Obama's first term [NYT].

It's comforting to know that the decision to protect the group's files was made by a presidential administration that also said, "Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

An image from United Against Nuclear Iran's Facebook page.

An image from United Against Nuclear Iran's Facebook page.

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