Secrecy in the United States: Priorities for the Next President


Ford Hall Forum and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service present “Secrecy in the United States: Priorities for the Next President” with Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Suffolk University Law School Professor Alasdair Roberts will moderate the forum, to be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, September 18, 2008, at the C. Walsh Theater, 55 Temple St., Boston. An open discussion and book signing will follow. Admission is free and open to all.

Right to Know

Over the past eight years, federal policymakers have struggled with contending claims about national security, executive privilege, and open government. Is the current administration excessively secretive, or are its methods simply the most effective way to protect our nation in the post-9/11 world? 

In recognition of International Right to Know Day, Blanton joins Roberts in  discuss government transparency and suggest top reform priorities for the next president.

The National Security Archive, headed by Blanton, won U.S. journalism's George Polk Award in April 2000 for "piercing self-serving veils of government secrecy, guiding journalists in search for the truth, and informing us all."  The Los Angeles Times has described the Archive as "the world's largest nongovernmental library of declassified documents."

About the presenters

Blanton's books include White House E-Mail: The Top Secret Computer Messages the Reagan-Bush White House Tried to Destroy, which the New York Times described as "a stream of insights into past American policy, spiced with depictions of White House officials in poses they would never adopt for a formal portrait." He co-authored The Chronology on the Iran-contra affair, and served as a contributing author to three editions of the ACLU's authoritative guide, Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws, and to the Brookings Institution study Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940

Roberts is the Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School.  He writes extensively on problems of governance, law and public policy.  His most recent book is The Collapse of Fortress Bush: The Crisis of Authority in American Government.  Kirkus Reviews called it "a trenchant analysis of the last eight years of American political history."  His previous book, Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age, received the 2006 Brownlow Book Award from the U.S. National Academy of Public Administration and three other academic book awards.  He has also won several awards for his journal articles.

Celebrating 100 years of free discussion

The Ford Hall Forum is the nation’s oldest free public lecture series. It promotes freedom of speech and fosters an informed and effective citizenry through the public presentation of lectures, debates, and discussions. Its events illuminate the key issues facing our society. As the forum marks its 100th anniversary, it is embarking on a new partnership with Suffolk University and is housed just a block away from where the original Ford Hall once stood.

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Greg Gatlin

Mariellen Norris

Ford Hall Forum