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State Secrecy and Democracy A Philosophical Inquiry

In the wake of controversial disclosures of classified government information by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, questions about the democratic status of secret uses of political power are rarely far from the headlines. Despite an increase in initiatives aimed at enhancing government transparency – such as freedom of information or sunshine laws – secrecy persists in both the foreign and domestic policy of democratic states, in the form of classified intelligence programs, espionage, secret military operations, diplomatic discretion, closed-door political bargaining, and bureaucratic opacity.

Dorota Mokrosinska
15 November 2023
Routledge Focus

This book explores whether the state’s claim to restrict access to information can be justified. Dorota Mokrosinska answers this question with a qualified "yes," arguing that secrecy in exercising executive and legislative power can be seen as a legitimate exercise of democratic authority rather than as its justified suspension.

Past and recent examples of state secrecy are used throughout the book, including the Manhattan Project, decision-making leading to the Iraq War, the extraordinary renditions programs and secret detention sites in Eastern Europe, collaboration between international secret services, and the WikiLeaks and Snowden disclosures.

State Secrecy and Democracy: A Philosophical Inquiry is essential reading for those in political philosophy, ethics, politics, international relations and security studies, and law.

Text from Routledge Focus on Philosophy

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