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Introduction: Government secrecy

Government Secrecy

ISBN: 978-0-85724-389-8, eISBN: 978-0-85724-390-4

Publication date: 26 January 2011


Government secrecy is often portrayed as antithetical to transparency1 as well as an affront to the general right to know, citizen participation, administrative oversight, and democracy itself.2 Furthermore, government secrecy is connected to “much broader questions regarding the structure and performance of democratic systems” (Galnoor, 1977, p. 278), and in instances, is “more dangerous to democracy than the practices they conceal” (Fulbright, 1971).3 This condition has led to what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1987) describes as a secrecy state, whichhas extended the secrecy system far beyond its legitimate bounds. In doing so, the target is far less to prevent the disclosure of information to enemy governments than to prevent the disclosure of information to the American Congress, press and people. For governments have discovered that secrecy is a source of power and an efficient way of covering up the embarrassments, blunders, follies and crimes of the ruling regime. (p. 5)


Maret, S. (2011), "Introduction: Government secrecy", Maret, S. (Ed.) Government Secrecy (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. xi-xxx.



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