Product Description Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan here presents a fascinating 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 has adversely affected momentous political decisions and events, and how it has eluded efforts to curtail or end it.
Amazon.com Review Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) was one of the first members of the United States government openly to predict the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union--and, by extension, statist communism--as far back as the late '70s, as political historian Richard Gid Powers reminds readers in a lengthy introduction (comprising approximately one-fifth of Secrecy's total length). Had we spent less time trying to gather secret information about the Soviets and more time openly discussing rather easily interpretable data, Sen. Moynihan argues, we might have been far less paranoid about the supposed Red menace. The problem, he writes, lies in the essential nature of government secrecy: "Departments and agencies hoard information, and the government becomes a kind of market. Secrets become organizational assets, never to be shared save in exchange for another organization's assets.... The system costs can be enormous. In the void created by absent or withheld information, decisions are either made poorly or not at all."
Sen. Moynihan draws upon several incidents to make his point, from the Army's deliberate withholding from President Harry Truman of information about Soviet spy rings to the disastrous 1961 invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs to the Iran-Contra affair. The senator knows whereof he speaks; he was for eight years a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Secrecy ably combines hands-on experience and historical perspective, calling for the United States to take advantage of the new era in international relations to implement policies that once again encourage the open, uninhibited flow of information among government agencies and, whenever possible, the public. --Ron Hogan