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Secrecy: The American Experience

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, here presents an eloquent and fascinating account of the development of secrecy as a mode of regulation in American government since World War I—how it was born, how world events shaped it, how it has adversely affected momentous political decisions and eve ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 10th 1999 by Yale University Press (first published September 9th 1998)
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Todd Cheng
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As true 20 years ago as it today. Secrecy as a form of federal regulation is an interesting argument and not a perspective I had taken.

I appreciated the history and the many references to the events along the journey. As we review the works of secrecy in our decisions when those histories are made available; we except future policy can adjust based on the evidence. It might come to pass less money need to be spent in the regulations that are resulting in less accuracy. Might be those resources c
...more
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 hidde ...more
Peter
Aug 13, 2015 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 th
...more
Tim Patrick
Sep 18, 2014 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
...more
Vasil Kolev
Jan 02, 2014 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
...more
Marc
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.
...more
Matthew
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.
Helen
Feb 11, 2009 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. ...more
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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 wa ...more

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