Friday, July 19, 2013

Civics and Intelligence: Does the US Government have the Constitutional Right to Keep Secrets

It is commonly asserted that "the people have the right to know".

In other words, that if the government is keeping a secret is that by definition in violation of the law. Does the government have the right to keep certain types of secrets legally and constitutionally? What have the courts ruled on this matter? What are the precedents in American history. What did the writers of the constitution have in mind on this topic.

The following is a legal and historical analysis by John Warner. The article is reprinted from the CIA's Studies in Intelligence.

You should read this 20 page paper in order to understand the arguments that can be made for the government keeping secrets from its people and under what circumstances they may do so.

If you do not feel like reading the entire 20 pages, read the first 5 or so, which goes over some examples from American history in the very early days.

The document can be found online in several different forms at

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