Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision in a California lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Under the state secrets privilege, the government can have a lawsuit dismissed if hearing the case would jeopardize national security.
The Bush administration invoked the privilege numerous times in lawsuits over various post-2001 programs, but the Obama administration recently announced a new internal review process in which more senior Justice Department officials would make such decisions.
Holder said that in the current case, that review process had convinced him "there is no way for this case to move forward without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence activities that we rely upon to protect the safety of the American people." Read more.