Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings

12.29.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The importance and the hazards of government secrecy are now widely understood.  But the principles and practices of secrecy policy as it has developed over the years remain obscure to many.  A new anthology published this week aims to present “the best that has been thought and written” on the subject.

“Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings” presents an impressive cross-section of views, from many competing and complementary perspectives.  They include the theoretical (Georg Simmel), the sociological (Max Weber, Edward Shils), the adversarial (Howard Morland), and a lot more (from William Colby, Morton Halperin, Harold Relyea, Howard Zinn, James X. Dempsey, Thomas Blanton, William Weaver, Joseph Stiglitz, Lee Strickland, Herbert Foerstel, myself and others).

It is the distillation of an entire library’s worth of material that should be of interest to students of government and political science, as well as concerned citizens who find themselves confronting official secrecy.

“Government Secrecy” was edited Dr. Susan L. Maret of San Jose State University and Dr. Jan Goldman of the National Defense Intelligence College.