Necessary Secrets: Book summary and reviews of Necessary Secrets by Gabriel Schoenfeld

Necessary Secrets

National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law

by Gabriel Schoenfeld

Necessary Secrets by Gabriel Schoenfeld X
Necessary Secrets by Gabriel Schoenfeld
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Book Summary

"Leaking" - the unauthorized disclosure of classified information - is a well-established part of the U.S. government's normal functioning. Gabriel Schoenfeld examines history and legal precedent to argue that leaks of highly sensitive national-security secrets have reached hitherto unthinkable extremes, with dangerous potential for post-9/11 America. He starts with the New York Times's recent decision to reveal the existence of National Security Agency programs created under the Bush administration. He then steps back to the Founding Fathers' intense preoccupation with secrecy. In his survey of U.S. history, Schoenfeld discovers a growing rift between a press that sees itself as the heroic force promoting the public's "right to know" and a government that needs to safeguard information vital to the effective conduct of foreign policy.

A masterful contribution to our understanding of the First Amendment, Necessary Secrets marshals the historical evidence that leaks of highly classified government information not only endanger the public but, in some extraordinary circumstances, merit legal prosecution of those who publish them.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"If Schoenfeld's argument sometimes feels one-sided, he succeeds in scrutinizing an issue of vital importance and putting it into a much broader context." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A timely, sure-to-be controversial take on a problem that has no easy resolution." - Kirkus Reviews

"A serious work for a serious issue. Schoenfeld illuminates the complex history and the even more complicated present of America's struggle to balance security and free expression." - General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the NSA and CIA

"Illuminating, extremely intelligent, learned, engaging, and important. This is a truly great book—the best account ever of the relationship between the press and the government concerning the protection and disclosure of national-security secrets, one that is centrally relevant to manifold national-security debates today." - Jack Goldsmith, author of The Terror Presidency

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Author Information

Gabriel Schoenfeld

Gabriel Schoenfeld is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, and a resident scholar at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey. He lives in New York City.

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