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Secrecy (2008)

Thomas Blanton , Melissa Boyle Mahle , Peter Galison , Robb Moss  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Thomas Blanton, Melissa Boyle Mahle
  • Directors: Peter Galison, Robb Moss
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001U9BRXO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,077 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Secrecy" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Relentless in its pursuit of the unvarnished truth, SECRECY shines a penetrating light into the dark, unseen world of government secrecy. This intelligent film takes measure of the tension between security and freedom, investigating whether press reports led to the death of American soldiers as well as exploring if secrecy led to horrendous human rights abuses in the War on Terror.

Through revealing interviews with a fascinating host of characters secrecy-adverse reporters; former CIA agents who experienced firsthand the deleterious effects of airing classified information; military attorneys defending accused terrorists; and everyday citizens whose lives have been touched by the government s most closely guarded programs SECRECY attempts to understand what degree of openness and transparency a democracy demands.

From the Manhattan Project to Abu Ghraib, habeas corpus to Osama bin Laden, directors Peter Galison and Robb Moss brilliantly dissect the way the power and allure of secrecy affects the course of history.

Special Features

  • Interview Outtakes; Extended Sequences; Extracted Stories; Audio Commentary; Filmmaker Biographies


illuminates, entertains and inspires --The San Francisco Chronicle

exceptional...combines thoughtful interviews with an elegant visual look to produce an incisive examination of some of the key issues of our time --The Los Angeles Times

equal parts history lesson, meditative essay, didactic poem and call to arms. --The New York Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The recent history and evolution of the policies of the US Government regarding national security, covert operations, the gathering of intelligence, the treatment of prisoners, the dissemination of information, and the genesis of the policy of governmental secrecy, are among the subjects covered in the documentary Secrecy (2008). The film acknowledges some of the key events in American history that affected change in intelligence policy. These include World War II, the Manhattan Project, the Cold War, the formation of the CIA, the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and conflicts in the Middle East. Also discussed is the genesis of the State's Secret privilege, a legal means where evidence can be excluded from a case, if the Government provides statements that attest that nation security would be compromised.

The film consists primarily of interview clips with various individuals, including those involved in the intelligence field, former government officials, reporters, legal experts, and relatives of victims killed while conducting government business. While there are many opinions expressed, and some interesting and provocative subjects are explored, the somewhat unorganized way that the film jumps around between numerous subjects, isn't the most conducive to understanding the situation. Discussion of historical events, comments and opinions, personal experiences, and coverage of specific cases, are all mixed together.

A better approach might have been to lay a basic foundation, then focus on how the State's Secret privilege was established, and then move on to the various related subjects. While the material to do this effectively may not have been available, the producers certainly could have improved on the way the information is presented.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and informative January 23, 2012
A variety of perspectives is presented here, as well as useful information. I came away with a clearer sense of the intertwining issues, timelines, pressures, causes and outcomes that have led to the complex behemoth called government secrecy. The struggle presented in this documentary is where to draw the line between revelation and concealment and how to maintain a rational balance between the two. It isn't likely we'll ever reach a unanimous opinion in a country this size but we should all at least have a sense of the dynamics and what's at stake.

As others have pointed out, the information could have been organized in a more chronological manner. At the same time, the mosaic-like presentation made individual stories and pieces of information stand out more for me. An interesting documentary to pair with this one is Cheney's Law, which also involves the topic of secrecy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I expected this documentary to be only about the costs of secrecy, but it's not. It's also not filled with action as it's just interviews and some background footage. For me this was very entertaining.

The people interviewed that "get it" about secrecy aren't advocating more or less secrecy, in general. They're discussing the needs, costs, options and human nature. I felt that I understood why the subject can be so morose. At the end of the day, there is no right balance and everything is a matter of character and courage.

I recommend this documentary to those that like thoughtful interviews and are interested in the issues related to government secrets.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great flim July 2, 2013
By Neph
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I loved the insight this film gives and how real it makes it. So much is going on and most of us don't bat an eye at it. Maybe one day people will listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! June 24, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
With all of things we are finding out today about the government snooping on us this movie seems quite relevant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should government be allowed to keep secrets? March 14, 2013
By Meno
Format:Amazon Instant Video
That's the question this documentary asks as it shows you how secrecy began in the US government. Can it harm but is it also necessary? It's an important question that citizens should ask to decide what we ask of our government and what level of secrecy we can accept but also know when we need to demand transparency to avoid abuse of power.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Important Info for the concerned citizen April 5, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
There are a number of disturbing current trends in the USA and world too.
This is one of them.
To me, it's important to know what is going on with our government behind the political spin we hear all the time.
This documentary is well done, informative and entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and disturbing film January 17, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video
Violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights goes far beyond the NSA. NSA just happens to be the worst offender of late. We can release our fear and step back from the brink if we choose.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my kind of movie.
Published 11 days ago by connip
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting and factual
good documentary on the history of the CIA in the US; how it came into being, how state secrets have been protected since the beginning. insightful and factual. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. Garrett
1.0 out of 5 stars There is an agenda there...
This did not really give much information. It mostly bashed the George W. Bush Administration after 9/11. It talked a lot about Guantanamo Bay and torture. Read more
Published 10 months ago by kdeenak
1.0 out of 5 stars another conspiracy theory based doc.
I stopped watching after the first 20 minutes, and even those 20 minutes seemed to drag on for a lifetime.
Published 12 months ago by SGT Pocket
5.0 out of 5 stars How bog is information Gathering?
Apparently very big. As a country spend billions to gather mountains of information. This brings some very big questions. Read more
Published 12 months ago by T. Burns
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid documentary-needs an update
Insightful, but like all these documentaries it could use an update. The hoards of documentary filmmakers who were so critical of the Bush administration (and rightly so) have... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Zachary Litton
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainty worth watching for sure.
I though this documentary could be a little more multi dimensional. However it did a great job of showing the relation between secrecy and democracy. Read more
Published 14 months ago by EMBLA
3.0 out of 5 stars It may not be perfect..., but
It may not be perfect .., but it is someone's effort to alert.., not blame.., but to alert, ring the bell and challenge a serious
effort to ignore the writ of habeas corpus. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Gary Guddy
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