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Award winning journalist Ted Gup exposes how and why our most important institutions increasingly keep secrets from the very people they are supposed to serve.Drawing on his decades as an investigative reporter, Ted Gup argues that a preoccupation with secrets has undermined the very values--security, patriotism, and privacy--in whose name secrecy is so often invoked. He explores the blatant exploitation of privacy and confidentiality in academia, business, and the courts, and concludes that in case after case, these principles have been twisted to allow the emergence of a shadow system of justice, unaccountable to the public. Nation of Secrets not only sounds the alarm to warn against an unethical way of life, but calls for the preservation of our democracy as we know it.
In this probing expos , Washington Post investigative reporter Gup (The Book of Honor) surveys the post-9/11 mania for secrecy, focusing on the ubiquitous classification of routine information, the gutting of the Freedom of Information Act and the persecution of whistle-blowers. The government, he notes, is busy reclassifying information that has been in the public domain for decades, and a Pentagon report criticizing excessive secrecy was stamped Top Secret. It's all part of a national obsession with confidentiality, Gup argues, that afflicts corporations, universities and the press itself, whose reliance on unnamed sources corrupts and misleads its reporting. Gup's muckraking sometimes misfires (he reports on an intelligence operative who either murdered two other agents or was pulling his leg), and he ups the anxiety by conflating government secrecy with surveillance and wire-tapping programs. Democracy seems more gummed up than actually threatened by the problems he spotlights, such as the concealment of crimes, defective products and corporate chicanery, gossip replacing verifiable news, government pursuit of misguided policies based on secret information rather than public information that can be checked and debated. Still, this is a cogent critique of a tight-lipped America that is increasingly paranoid, dysfunctional and absurd.