Center for Progressive Reform

Excessive Secrecy in Government

Undercutting the Democratic Process and Protecting Corporations from Accountability

For a democratic government to thrive, its workings must be visible to the public. That fundamental principle has served the nation well for more than two centuries – in times of war and peace, bounty and bust. To be sure, some matters of national security must remain confidential, especially in dangerous times. But during the Bush years, the clamp-down on the flow of information and on the very notion of transparency itself went far beyond the demands of national security. The Obama Administration improved on the Bush record in some ways, but not in others. For example, it pursued a record number of leak prosecutions.

The Trump record on secrecy is still being written, but early indications are not promising. Within hours of taking office, the Administration removed a number of substantive web pages from public view, and directed agency staff to stop using social media. Watch this space!

CPR Member Scholars’ writings on the subject include:

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