Download Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy by Frederick A. O. Schwarz PDF

By Frederick A. O. Schwarz

From Dick Cheney's man-sized secure to the nationwide protection Agency's great intelligence collecting, secrecy has too usually captured the yank government's modus operandi larger than the beliefs of the structure. during this vital new publication, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., who used to be leader guidance to the U.S. Church Committee on Intelligence—which exposed the FBI's attempt to push Martin Luther King to dedicate suicide; the CIA's enlistment of the Mafia to aim to kill Fidel Castro; and the NSA's thirty-year software to get copies of all telegrams leaving the United States—uses examples starting from the losing of the 1st atomic bomb and the Cuban Missile predicament to Iran Contra and Sep 11 to light up this crucial query: how a lot secrecy does reliable governance require? Schwarz argues that whereas a few keep an eye on of knowledge is critical, governments are inclined to fall prey to a tradition of secrecy that's eventually not only damaging to democracy yet antithetical to it. This heritage offers the fundamental context to fresh circumstances from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden.

Democracy at nighttime is a typical better half to Schwarz's Unchecked and Unbalanced, co-written with Aziz Huq, which plumbed the ability of the administrative branch—a energy that regularly is determined by and derives from using secrecy.

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Extra info for Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy

Example text

Or should “the People” (or, more precisely, the portion of the public that was white and male) control and be privy to the information necessary to control? While this debate has been well covered in American history,5 its tie to openness and secrecy has not been emphasized. The seed of openness had been planted by the Declaration of Independence. ”6 Beneath this simple statement lies recognition that consent is not meaningful unless the governed are informed about their government and its leaders.

12 Secrecy proponents point to the Secrecy Rule at the hallowed Constitutional Convention. But the tale of the 1787 Constitutional Convention does not make a broad case for secrecy. It was well known, of course, that the Convention was meeting. As for its deliberating in secret, many of the harmful handmaidens of secret decision-making were absent. The participants in the Convention were not a narrow coterie of like-minded thinkers but a group of representatives with different interests. They engaged in energetic debates and formed shifting coalitions.

How are you to know the just from the unjust steward when they are covered with the mantle of concealment? Can there be any question of legislative import which freemen should not be acquainted with? 22 After six years of criticism, the Senate voted in 1794 to open its doors in its next session. Although the National Gazette was by then closed, Freneau’s broadsides had stoked the debate. A free press fueled discussion that increased government openness. 23 Power in the new America was increasingly based on publicity and openness, not the closed culture of aristocratic England.

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