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Secrecy: The American Experience

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
An account of the development of secrecy as a mode of regulation in American governance since World War I - how it was born, how world events shaped it, how it has adversely affected momentous political decisions and events, and how it has eluded efforts to curtail or end it.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 10th 1999 by Yale University Press (first published September 9th 1998)
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Charlene Mathe
Since the publication almost 20 years ago of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's expose on government secrecy, who would argue that any progress has been made in correcting the problems?! Hillary Clinton's secret server housing confidential state documents and her (so far) successful defiance of congressional demands for those documents demonstrates the toothlessness of Senator Moynihan's expose. Moynihan believed that EXPOSURE and PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE would remedy the errors of judgment and corruptions ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing
A cogent and concise history of government secrecy in the United States.

Moynihan argues that secrecy is a form of goverment regulation with a slim statutory basis and little visible track record -- unlike regulation of domestic affairs, with publication of everything in the Federal Register. He also argues that secrecy is a form of bureaucratic currency and that, generally and in specific instances, secrecy has harmed the country.

Moynihan shows how Woodrow Wilson, somewhat surprisingly, was the
Tim Patrick
Sep 18, 2014 Tim Patrick rated it really liked it
A good mini-overview of government secrecy in the United States, plus some warnings over intelligence failures brought about by the very agencies who depend on such secret intelligence. One of the most surprising reveals is the CIA's utter surprise that the Soviet Union was headed for economic collapse in the late 1980s, despite an analyst offering this projection decades earlier.

The nearly 60-page introduction by Richard Gid Powers is also an excellent commentary on secrecy and rounds out Senat
Vasil Kolev
Jan 02, 2014 Vasil Kolev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Въпреки че има доста какво да се желае от превода (може би няма и как да се получи и трябва да я прочета пак в оригинал), идеите на книгата са доста ясни - колко е вредна прекалената секретност, какво е довело до нея, последиците и няколко идеи каква е правилната посока. Въпреки, че книгата е писана през 1998, дори скорошните събития около различните leak-ове на засекретени данни и т.н. нямат много какво да добавят към нея, освен да потвърдят написаното в нея.
(всъщност, в последните години съм с
Moynihan's tenure in government makes him competent to tackle the topic. He doesn't say there is no need for secrecy, just not as much as there is in America. It's now so tightly controlled by the president that it serves only to immunize him from any checks and balances.

The Sovietization of America; Secrecy is dangerous in the hands of a fool.
An interesting book on why there is so much secrecy in the US government, and some of its effects. Interesting, still, Moynihan buys into a whole lot of typical Washington bullshit.
Feb 11, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing
Quite simply, every American citizen should read this. 'The 9/11 Commission Report' is also in this category for me.
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Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan was an American politician and sociologist. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the United States Senate for New York in 1976, and was re-elected three times (in 1982, 1988, and 1994). He declined to run for re-election in 2000. Prior to his years in the Senate, Moynihan was the United States' ambassador to the United Nations and to India, and ...more
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