U.S. Government Secrecy and the Current Crackdown on Leaks

By Jack Nelson

A paper by Jack Nelson, fall 2002 fellow (deceased), explores the relationship between the government and the press regarding the contentious issue of leaks. This paper looks at the long and continuing struggle over the scope of laws to punish leakers and discusses the growth of secrets over the years. It also examines efforts to speed up the job of declassifying hundreds of millions of pages of classified material. Finally, it examines the work of an unprecedented group of government and press representatives who meet periodically in off-the-record sessions to discuss ways to protect the most sensitive national security secrets without abridging the public’s right to know what its government is doing.

Download the paper (PDF).