Now that keeping secrets about an investor has gotten Goldman Sachs & Co. in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a new disclosure issue has come up. The question, in a nutshell, is: Why didn’t Goldman tell its investors that it was being investigated by the feds?

In a conference call on Tuesday, Goldman general counsel Gregory Palm first defended the company against the SEC’s fraud suit. He said Goldman was not legally required to disclose that an investor who helped choose a portfolio of subprime mortgage debt was taking a short position — Wall Streetese meaning that the investor was betting the portfolio would lose money.