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.
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.
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."