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The declassification engine : what history reveals about America's top secrets  Cover Image Book Book

The declassification engine : what history reveals about America's top secrets / Matthew Connelly.


"A captivating study of US state secrecy that examines how officials use it to hoard power and prevent meaningful public oversight. The United States was founded on the promise of a transparent government, but time and again we have abandoned the ideals of our open republic. In recent history, we have permitted ourselves to engage in costly wars, opened ourselves to preventable attacks, and ceded unaccountable power to officials both elected and unelected. Secrecy may now be an integral policy to preserving the American way of life, but its true costs have gone unacknowledged for too long. Using the latest techniques in data science, historian Matthew Connelly analyzes the millions of state documents both accessible to the public and still under review to unearth not only what the government does not want us to know, but what it says about the very authority we bequeath to our leaders. By culling this research and carefully studying a series of pivotal moments in recent history from Pearl Harbor to drone strikes, Connelly sheds light on the drivers of state secrecy--especially consolidating power or hiding incompetence--and how the classification of documents has become untenable. What results is an astonishing study of power: of the greed that develops out of its possession, of the negligence that it protects, and of what we lose as citizens when it remains unchecked. A crucial examination of the self-defeating nature of secrecy and the dire state of our nation's archives, The Declassification Engine is a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving the past so that we may secure our future"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781101871577
  • ISBN: 1101871571
  • Physical Description: xvii, 540 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2023]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 407-502) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Preface: Should this book be legal? -- The radical transparency of the American republic: a re-introduction -- Pearl Harbor: the original secret -- The bomb: born secret -- Code making and code breaking: the secret of secrets -- The military-industrial complex: the dirty secret of civil-military relations -- Surveillance: other people's secrets -- Weird science: secrets that are stranger than fiction -- Following the money: trade secrets -- Spin: the flipside of secrecy -- There is no there there: the best kept secret -- Deleting the archive: the ultimate secret -- Conclusion: The end of history as we know it.
Subject: Transparency in government > United States.
Government information > Access control > United States.
Public administration > United States.
United States > Politics and government.

Available copies

  • 17 of 18 copies available at SPARK Libraries. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Juniata County.


  • 0 current holds with 18 total copies.
Show All Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Juniata County Library 352.3 CON (Text) 39640100653615 JUNM Non-Fiction Available -

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