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Word Count: 407
STATE SECRECY VS THE PUBLICS INTEREST The requirement of secrecy by the government is not all-inclusive nor is it sometimes in the governments best interest However there are overriding concerns within certain areas in which secrecy is paramount Two examples will bear light on this In the first example a federal judge ruled against the Federation of American Scientists in their attempt to force the publication of the amount the United States spent on intelligence activities in 1999 The judge wrote The court must defer to George Tenets decision that release of a third consecutive year amidst the information already publicly available provides too much trend information and too great a basis for comparison and analysis for our adversaries This was after the Clinton administration declined to reveal this years spending after having revealed the amounts for 1997 and 1998 The need for secrecy in intelligence gathering is a given based upon national security The government must be able to perform certain functions with appropriate elective representative oversight as it sees fit One must then trust the representatives integrity and expect that the secrecy is indeed required There have been occasions in which the governments best interests have not been served by this secrecy and in which the representatives integrity may be called into question An example of this was the Warren Commission which investigated the assassination of President Kennedy and some of whose materials are still secret This secrecy has harmed the government and to this day led to various conspiracy theories The second example is within the judicial system and the historical secrecy of the grand jury A grand jury has six interests in secrecy 1 preventing the escape of offenders 2 preventing the destruction of evidence 3 preventing tampering with witnesses 4 preserving the reputations of innocent persons whose conduct comes under the grand jurys investigation 5 encouraging witnesses to disclose their full knowledge of possible wrongdoing and 6
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