Lessons learned about access to government information after World War II can be applied after September 11

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The cost of unrestricted dissemination of government information to Americans' safety and security has been a topic of heated debate since September 11, 2001. The risks of dissemination seem to have skyrocketed in this age of terrorist attacks. However, the United States faced similar risks after World War II, when the secret of the atom bomb required close protection. Congress can learn from the process that the U.S. government went through to pass the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 [Atomic Energy Act of 1946. Pub. L. No. 79-585, 60 Stat. 755] during a similar time of national stress and fear and work to pass laws regulating the dissemination of information to the public. In the absence of legislative guidance, agencies have been left to restrict information as they think is best, with inconsistent and disastrous results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-103
Number of pages14
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

Keywords

  • Atomic Energy Act
  • Cold War
  • Government secrecy
  • Information policy
  • National security
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Sensitive but unclassified information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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