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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Secrecy unveiled at Spy Museum.

What a nice invitation from Washington’s Spy Museum in the mail today:

Dear Peter,

We’d be delighted to have you as our guest at the Spy Museum’s upcoming event about freedom of information and government secrecy. The event is taking place tomorrow, Tuesday April 14, at 6:30 pm at the International Spy Museum, 800 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20004.”

As I said in reply, all the combined skills of many spooks would be needed to beam me up from Sydney and into Washington in time, but I appreciated the thought.

However if you are reading this from the Washington vicinity and can get there,it sounds like a very interesting discussion:America on a need- to know- basis:Secrecy in a Free Society. Buy a ticket here. Details as follows.

"Government secrecy—necessary evil, essential protection, ready cover-up, or useful bureaucratic measure? Americans wrestle with the concept of government secrecy, but tend to find it more acceptable when they feel threatened. But how much secrecy is too much and when does classification become control without bounds? Moderator Shelby Coffey III, senior fellow of the Freedom Forum and former editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times, will engage a panel of experts in an exploration of these crucial questions. Join Thomas S. Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive; Peter Earnest, former chief of the CIA office responsible for FOIA, privacy, and litigation issues in the clandestine service; Ronald Goldfarb, author of In Confidence: When to Protect Secrecy and When to Require Disclosure; and Mike Levin, former chief of information policy at the National Security Agency; for a lively exchange of views on the inherent tension between the public’s right to knowledge and the government’s duty to safeguard vital national security information.”

Maybe next time.

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