Calling it the “only responsible choice,” Justice Department officials are invoking the state secrets privilege in trying to thwart a suit that challenges the government’s secret wiretapping program.

The Justice Department on Friday night issued a statement from Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. in which he said the suit, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, cannot move forward without jeopardizing national security. The suit, first filed in 2006, presents class action allegations rooted in the government’s alleged violation of privacy laws. (Click here for a copy of the complaint.)