Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark

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9780742558854: Top Secret: When Our Government Keeps Us in the Dark

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has investigated and prosecuted public employees, journalists, and the press for the dissemination of classified information relating to the national security. What is the cause of the recent tension between the government and the press? Perhaps the media are pressing more aggressively to pierce the government's shield of secrecy. Perhaps the government is pressing more aggressively to expand its shield of secrecy. Perhaps both factors are at work. Top Secret explores not why this is happening, but whether the measures taken and suggested by the executive branch to prevent and punish the public disclosure of classified information are consistent with the First Amendment.

This book, the first in the Free Expression in America series, addresses four critical issues: a public employee's right to disclose classified information to a journalist, the government's right to punish the press for publishing classified information, the government's right to punish a journalist for soliciting such information, and a journalist's right to keep his sources anonymous.

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About the Author:

Geoffrey R. Stone is Harry Kalven, Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Law and former dean at the University of Chicago Law School. His recent book, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism(2004), received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 2005, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for 2004 as the Best Book in History, and was chosen as one of The New York Times "100 Notable Books of the Year" in 2004.

Review:

This superb volume provides an exceptionally lucid account of the legal landscape of government secrecy. Geoffrey Stone helps readers to think through the conundrums of national security law in pursuit of a sensible secrecy policy that can be reconciled with the democracy it is supposed to protect. (Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists)

In a rigorous and insightful analysis, Geoffrey Stone's Top Secret explores one of the fundamental and most difficult constitutional tensions of a self-governing society: the conflict between the need of citizens to know what their government is up to and the need of government sometimes to maintain the secrecy of its actions. (Nadine Strossen, president, American Civil Liberties Union and professor of law, New York Law School)

The subject, government secrecy, is crucial to our freedom. Geoffrey Stone has tackled all its complexities with admirable clarity and force. He has given us an essential guide to resisting silence and suppression. (Anthony Lewis, former New York Times columnist)

This a great book of cartography as well as legal reasoning. Geoffrey Stone has charted the elusive lines between national security and the public's right to know in a straightforward, thought-provoking way that will illuminate the path for judges, journalists and policy-makers for years to come. (Tony Mauro, Supreme Court correspondent, American Lawyer Media)

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