The Nation: The U.S. Mania for Classification

LARGELY unremarked, the U.S. Government has been practicing a kind of prior restraint for three decades. By routinely stamping so much material as secret, it has cut off the flow of information to press and public, only to turn it back on at convenient moments or let it dribble out in calculated leaks. The disclosure of the Pentagon papers serves as a reminder of how much more information—hundreds of millions of pages—remains classified. A Washington bureaucrat can stamp as secret virtually anything he wants to.

That license is likely to be sharply curtailed as...

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