Imagine that someone has wronged you, and you sue them.
Then the Government magically appears in court and asks that your suit be dismissed because, for reasons it won’t tell you, state secrets might be dredged up in the course of the litigation.
You have no idea what they’re talking about.
But after secret discussions with the judge from which both you and the defendant are excluded, the court dismisses your suit.
This Kafkaesque scenario couldn’t happen in the U.S., right?
Not until Monday, it couldn’t. That’s when a federal judge in the Southern District of New York did exactly that, dismissing a defamation suit by Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis against a shady advocacy group called United Against Nuclear Iran.
This is the first time a US court has dismissed a lawsuit on the basis of state secrets when the case didn’t involve either the Government or a defence contractor deeply enmeshed with classified government contracts.