Author(s): Scott Horton
State secrecy is increasingly used as the explanation for the shrinking of public discussion surrounding national security issues. The phrase that's classified" is increasingly used not to protect national secrets from legitimate enemies, but rather to stifle public discourse regarding national security. Washington today is inclined to see secrecy as a convenient cure to many of its problems. But too often these problems are not challenges to national security, they involve the embarrassment of political figures, disclosure of mismanagement, incompetence and corruption and even outright criminality.For national security issues to figure in democratic deliberation, the public must have access to basic facts that underlie the issues. The more those facts disappear under a cloak of state secrecy, the less space remains for democratic process and the more deliberation falls into the hands of largely unelected national security elites. The way out requires us to think much more critically and systematically about secrecy and its role in a democratic state.
“Scott Horton’s book is an attempt to catalogue what we know about the abuses of America’s security services in a post-Snowden world. The fundamental premises of Lords of Secrecy are familiar ones: bureaucracies accrete power; secrecy has been one of their greatest weapons in doing so. And the book focuses on an important question: what does the fact that so much money is lavished on black-box agencies, so many actions of government are hidden from scrutiny and so many people are beyond the reach of elected lawmakers actually mean for democracy and society?”
Sam Jones – Financial Times
A well-researched and thought-provoking book that looks at how issues of war have been keep more and more in secret from the American public. As an Australian, it will make you reflect on our government, national security and war and peace.
Elisa, Book Grocer