Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has reset the procedures for invoking the state secrets privilege, responding to criticisms that the Justice Department in recent years has resorted to the privilege too often.

The new procedures, which have been months in the making, will require the attorney general’s personal approval before Justice Department lawyers invoke the privilege. They also call for a “sufficient showing” that release of information “reasonably could be expected to cause significant harm to the national defense or foreign relations” of the United States.

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