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National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law

Sudha Setty, National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press 2017)

Western New England University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-7

Posted: 24 Aug 2017  

Sudha Setty

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Excessive government secrecy in the name of counterterrorism has a corrosive effect on democracy and the rule of law. The controversial national security programs of the United States’ Bush and Obama administrations include areas of targeted killings, torture, extraordinary rendition, and surveillance. Explanations to justify the administrations’ actions through interpretation of the governing law is lacking. The resultant excessive secrecy often keeps the public in the dark and prevents discovery of those actions, congressional oversight, and questioning of legality by the courts.

Similar patterns arise in other democracies around the world. In National Security Secrecy, Sudha Setty takes a critical and comparative look at these problems and demonstrates how government transparency, privacy, and accountability should provide the basis for reform.

Keywords: secrecy, counterterrorism, national security, democracy, rule of law, privacy

Suggested Citation

Setty, Sudha, National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law (2017). Sudha Setty, National Security Secrecy: Comparative Effects on Democracy and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press 2017); Western New England University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3020265

Sudha Setty (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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