Conclusion: The Culture of Secrecy

Jon Wiener

in Gimme Some Truth

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780520216464
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924543 | DOI:
Conclusion: The Culture of Secrecy

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The Lennon files case implements a small but brilliant example of this larger problem—the culture of secrecy that undermines democracy. The Lennon files were not threatened with destruction or carted away in the middle of the night. Armstrong's lawsuit prevented their destruction, but the same issue arose when the Bush administration prepared to leave office. Bush asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to allow the destruction of records while they were appealing the restraining order Armstrong had won. The court refused. Then, on the eve of Clinton's inauguration, the Archivist of the United States, Don Wilson, signed a secret agreement granting Bush exclusive legal control over the e-mail tapes of his administration. Even when new legislation gave historians greater power to obtain particular documents than that provided by the FOIA, it still wasn't easy to prevail over the FBI and CIA, as the Kennedy assassination records demonstrate.

Keywords: democracy; Columbia; inauguration; assassination; Don Wilson

Chapter.  2266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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