Secrecy; the American Experience by Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan , chairman of the bipartisan Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, here presents an account of the development of secrecy as a mode of regulation in American government since World War I - how it was born, how world events shaped it, how it was adversely affected political decisions and events, and how it has eluded efforts to curtail or end it. Senator Moyhihan begins by revealing the story of the Venona project project, in which Soviet cables sent to spies in the United States during World War II were decrypted by the US Army - but were never passed in to President Truman. The divisive Hiss perjury trial and the McCarthy era of suspicion might have had a far different impact on American society says Moyynihan, if government agencies had not kept secrets from one another as a means of shoring up their power. Moynihan points to many other examples of how government bureaucracies used secrecy to avoid public scrutiny and got into trouble as a result. He discusses the Bay of Pigs, Watergate, the Iran-Contra affair, and finally, the failure to forecast the collapse of the Soviet Union, suggesting that many of the tragedies resulting from these events could have been averted had the issues been clarified in an open exchange if ideas.

About Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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About the Author: Daniel Patrick Moynihanis the senior Senator from New York. A former professor of government at Harvard University, he has served as Ambassador to India and to the United Nations, where he represented the United States as President of the Security Council.
Published September 9, 1998 by Yale University Press. 272 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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(CNN) -- If the federal government had revealed all it knew about Soviet espionage activities in the United States during and after World War Two, there might have been no McCarthy era.

Oct 22 1998 | Read Full Review of Secrecy; the American Experience

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