Secrecy and Leaks

Government secrecy and the leaking of state secrets are not new, but have come to the forefront of attention in the United States in recent years during the presidential administrations of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Previously, between 1917 with the passage of the Espionage Act through 2009, only one person had been convicted under the statute for leaking government documents to a news organization. Since 2010, the Obama and Trump administrations have prosecuted at least 15 individuals under the statute for such actions. Although no journalists have been prosecuted for government leaks through the first half of 2020, questions still arise about the competing interests of government secrecy and security versus freedom of the press.

This entry first discusses the U.S. government system for classifying ...

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