Government Secrecy

Classic and Contemporary Readings

by Susan L. Maret and Jan Goldman, Editors


Government Secrecy is designed to engage students and other interested parties in critical discovery of secrecy as an ongoing and potentially necessary form of government policy.

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December 2008

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 820
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Librarianship: Philosophy, Values, and Issues/Information and Society/Culture
  Management and Administration/Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
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Government Secrecy presents the best that has been thought and written on the subject, including history and philosophy, theory and practice, justification and critique. Through readings, which range from Georg Simmel on secrecy and Max Weber on bureaucracy and secret-keeping, to post-9/11 concerns regarding freedom of information and presidential secrecy, it enables readers to explore the issues and questions that surround the government's right to keep necessary secrets—or not.

This collection, and the diverse perspectives it represents, will engage students and other interested parties in a discussion of the benefits—and dangers—of government secrecy. The collection is designed to generate questions regarding historical accuracy of government information, information ethics, professional neutrality, ownership of information, public right to information, national security, and transparency. The essays explore the criteria and conditions for government secret-keeping, as well as contributing to public and academic discussion of the role of secrets in democracies.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Steven Aftergood, Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American ScientistsAcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter 1: Perspectives on SecrecyChapter 2: A Short History of Government SecrecyChapter 3: Secrecy as RegulationChapter 4: Organizational Aspects of SecrecyChapter 5: Necessary Secrets: Alternative Views on the Need for Secrets and Secret KeepingChapter 6: The Uncertain Future of Information: Secrecy Post 9-11Appendix A: Major Reviews of the Secrecy SystemAppendix B: Laws that Restrict Public Access to Federal RecordsSourcesGlossaryFurther ReadingIndex



"This collection contains 45 historical and contemporary readings on the topic of government secrecy in the US in different time periods and contexts. Maret (library and information science, San Jose State U.) and Goldman (intelligence, National Defence Intelligence College) include readings written as early as 1787 (by Thomas Jefferson), up to 2008, most of which are from the mid-twentieth century and later. Readings cover the history, philosophy, theory, practice, critique, and justification of the field, and consider definitions, organizational aspects in selected intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA, criteria for government secret keeping, secrecy as regulation, national security and presidential power, and after 9/11 and the future of information."Reference & Research Book News

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