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Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy Hardcover – October 13, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Winner of the 2015 Myres S. McDougal Prize, Society of Policy Scientists

Winner of the 2014 Louis Brownlow Book Award, National Academy of Public Administration

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014

"Were Snowden's leaks justified? Rahul Sagar's Secrets and Leaks sheds important light on the question. In carefully argued and lucid prose, Sagar, a professor of politics at Princeton, argues that secrets are inevitable, as are leaks--and that leaks have an important if precarious part in checking secrecy abuse."--David Cole, New York Review of Books

"This is an excellent book that comes at an essential time. Snowden's leaks, which took place after Sagar finished the book, have focused public debate on the secrecy/transparency paradox, and Sagar's book is infinitely superior to the sloganeering that dominates the media."--Eric Posner, New Republic

"Rahul Sagar's new book Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy is both an important new work on the deep problem of political accountability in the context of U.S. government secrecy, and it is an excellent teaching resource."--Mary L. Dudziak, Balkinization

"Sagar makes a compelling argument that leaking plays an important role in uncovering wrongdoing in an arena in which both Congress and the courts are institutionally inhibited."--Gabrielle Appleby, Inside Story

"In his new book, Secrets and Leaks, the Princeton political scientist Rahul Sagar ably documents . . . growth in secrecy and the problems it poses, excavating from his thorough research a concise history of concealment and revelation from the Revolutionary War to the present. Atop this scholarship, he adds legal analysis and an attempt to map a regulatory framework that will keep the country secure, make the government accountable, and still preserve Americans' civil liberties."--Jack Shafer, Foreign Affairs

"[Secrets and Leaks is] a shining deed in a naughty world."--International Affairs

"[A] fresh, original and provocative contribution to the field. . . . [Sagar] is about as critical of his own arguments as he is towards those of others, and readers will be the wiser for it."--Steven Aftergood, Lawfare

"[A] thoroughly researched, thoughtfully considered work that clarifies an unsolvable dilemma at the heart of democratic governance."--Gabriel Schoenfeld, Claremont Review of Books

"Rahul Sagar's Secrets and Leaks . . . is a thoughtfully considered work that clarifies an unsolvable dilemma at the heart of democratic governance."--Gabriel Schoenfeld, Claremont Review of Books

"Sagar's new book could not come at a more opportune time. As a fresh national and even international debate about the morality of whistle-blowing and state secrecy develops, Sagar presents a compelling set of arguments about the balance between national security and liberty. In doing so, he examines all of the relevant actors: the national security apparatus, the courts, Congress, the leakers, and of course the executive itself. . . . In fact, Secrets and Leaks can be read as a case study in the inexorable tensions of executive power in a liberal democracy. This profound and profoundly important book deserves to inform the on-going debate."--Choice

"Whether one accepts or rejects this conclusion, Secrets and Leaks is a provocative, thoughtful, and important contribution to our understanding."--Geoffrey R. Stone, Political Science Quarterly

"Sagar provides us with a thoroughly researched and well-documented study of the politico-legal context of regimented state secrecy and offers an insightful analysis of the politics behind state secrecy going back to the constitutional debates and the Framers' intent."--David Grondin, Perspectives on Politics

From the Back Cover

"In this provocative and original book, Rahul Sagar resolves a core dilemma of executive power in a democracy. He shows how the justification for secrecy and accountability for its misuse both hover outside the normal legal order. Elegant in its symmetry and uncanny in its timing."--Jeffrey K. Tulis, University of Texas at Austin

"Rahul Sagar investigates the mirror problems of government secrecy and the leaking of government secrets. There are no easy solutions to these problems, and Sagar doesn't pretend there are. Instead, he provides a rigorous, judicious, and clear-eyed analysis of the tradeoffs that policymakers must make, and the uneasy compromises that must be reached. The book comes at a vital time, and is indispensable for current debates about NSA surveillance and related counterterrorism activities."--Eric A. Posner, coauthor of The Executive Unbound

"A truly excellent and provocative book. Secrets and Leaks makes an outstanding contribution to an issue of contemporary concern that will not go away--and will probably become far more serious--in the future."--Sanford Levinson, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution

"Sagar examines the very hot topic of the role of leaks and whistleblowing in democracy. He argues that they are fundamental to democratic politics generally and American democracy specifically, but he is subtle and informed enough to recognize the dangers of whistleblowing, particularly on matters of national security. Sagar could well launch a new literature on the subject."--Corey Brettschneider, author of When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691149879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691149875
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,089,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Extremely well researched and very timely. This book is a must read if you want to understand the intricacies of the current debate about state secrecy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was more like a text book. I was looking for some interesting true stories. I didn't finish the book
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Format: Hardcover
I tried to prevail on Steven Aftergood to repost his rave review at Lawfare here but for various reasons that was not possible. I've looked at this book but Steven is vastly superior to me in his contextual appraisal so below I offer both a fast means of finding Stevens review and three highlights in Steven's words, with some additional Amazon links and my own conclusions based on 40 years as an intelligence professional and 20 years as a proponent for intelligence reform.

Find the full review online by searching for three words together not in quotes: Lawfare Aftergood Sagar

Three Highlights:

QUOTE: Sagar makes a fresh, original and provocative contribution to the field. Our problems with secrecy, he says, are not simply attributable to official venality or mismanagement (or to the Espionage Act or the Manhattan Project) but instead are rooted in our constitutional structure. And leaks of classified information are not necessarily a lamentable deviation from good government but are -- within certain limits -- an essential safeguard that should be defended and encouraged.

QUOTE: Only leaks, he argues, have the potential to overcome the otherwise unresolved tensions over disclosure of national security information that are the legacy of our constitutional design.
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