State-Secrets Privilege Law and Legal Definition

State secrets privilege or national-security privilege is a privilege that the government may invoke against the discovery of a material which if divulged, could compromise national security. This is an evidentiary rule created by legal precedent in U.S. By exercising this privilege the court is asked to exclude evidence from a case based on an affidavit submitted by the government stating that the court proceedings might disclose sensitive information which might endanger national security. The state secrets privilege was formally recognized in the leading case United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1 (1953).