KEEPING AMERICA UN-INFORMED: GOVERNMENT SECRECY IN THE 1980S
Courtesy of Remy Chevalier
END GOVERNMENT SECRECY
Courtesy of Remy Chevalier
Danna A. Demac, Keeping America Un-Informed: Government Secrecy in the 1980s, ISBN 0-8298-0721-7
Chapter 7 is titled, "Indirect Connection, Scientific Inquiry and National Security." The following is from the introductory paragraph: "In this so-called information age, scientific inquiry and technological invention have become tools of political power. ... The new importance of the results of scientific research has intensified a fundamental controversy between those who would restrict the flow of scientific information in the interest of national security and those who would encourage that flow to ensure American excellence in science and education." It is extraordinarily difficult to follow the logic of restricting the flow of information to ensure excellence in education!
The Two Basic Issues:
1. The claim of the proponents of strict secrecy is that the nation must control technological information to ensure the country's technologic superiority. Strict limits on sharing of scientific information were vital to national security.
2. The claim of the academic and scientific scholars is that scientific superiority in the U.S. can only be maintained by freedom to communicate scientific information.
This publisher's view is that the government must be free to classify (for short periods of time) detailed structural information on military weapons. This view includes the right of government to classify weapon-related research that is funded by government military agencies. The government should have no right to classify any type of research and development discovered by individuals and/or funded by corporate of private funds.
The Inventions and Secrecy Act of 1951 gave defense agencies authority to review patent applications to determine if they should be classified. This law has been used to classify a voice scrambler and a data-protection device. An attempt was made to classify the discovery of high-density charge clusters. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 relates to nuclear energy research. Such research is "born classified" under this law. In 1979, this act was used to prevent publication of an article, "The H-Bomb: How We Got It, Why We're Telling It." Later in 1981, the DOE attempted to use this law to prohibit any U.S. laboratory employees from corresponding with researchers from Communist countries. The Export Administration Act of 1979 allows restrictions on the export of anything deemed to be harmful to national security. Finally, regulations were promulgated by over fifteen government agencies to control, oversee, or restrict scientific activities.
It would be obvious to anyone who is experienced in research and development, that these restrictions would diminish the technological advances in any country in which this type of restraint on professional communication was imposed. That has been the result in the U.S. The editor of this magazine has talked with scientists who have left the United States and gone to other countries to be able to continue their scientific research after their work had been classified. Consider the growth of the computer and the internet technologies. What country would be ahead of the U.S. if the in-the-garage work led to the first Apple Computer had been classified? The U.S. leads the world in new technology. Freedom of communication is the essence of technological development. No government agency nor any civil servant should have any right to curtail private invention and discovery. If it is weapon-related, the inventor is going to try to sell it to the government anyway!
The solution is simple; under the Freedom of Information any person whose research is not supported by government funds retains full rights to the dissemination of scientific data unless the researcher and the government agree on full payment for research achieved and/or planned. Also, the government shall have no right to change the classification of any government-funded or private-funded research that is not initially classified. Government employees and politicians act only upon public demand.
Therefore, SUPPORT THE RALLY TO END SECRECY: OCTOBER 24TH, 1999 AT NOON AT THE CAPITOL BUILDING.
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June 2, 1999.