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Democracy DeclassifiedThe Secrecy Dilemma in National Security$
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Michael P. Colaresi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199389773

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199389773.001.0001

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The Potential Abuses of National Security Secrecy

The Potential Abuses of National Security Secrecy

(p.75) 4 The Potential Abuses of National Security Secrecy
Democracy Declassified

Michael P. Colaresi

Oxford University Press

Having established the capacity for secrecy in democracies, the question then emerges, What are the consequences for democratic foreign policy and public consent? Chapter 4 highlights the fact that the capacity for secrecy can be abused, and the public is aware of this inescapable fact. The executive can use classification powers to deceive the public about the relative costs and benefits of policies. Moreover, counterintelligence tools, part of the capacity for secrecy, can be mobilized to track and suppress domestic opposition. This chapter shows that the capacity for secrecy in France led both to the production of the revolutionary 75mm gun (a use) and to the Dreyfus Affair (an abuse) nearly simultaneously. Similarly, in the United States, the same capacity for secrecy was used for Project Azorian while being abused in the Watergate scandal.

Keywords:   abuse, classification, counterintelligence, Dreyfus Affair, Watergate, Project Azorian

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