Synopsis by Nathan Southern
It is widely known and accepted that the United States government systematically classifies as "secret" a massive number of documents each year. This very occurrence raises penetrating key questions about the viability or danger of the government's withholding of such information from the general public. With their documentary Secrecy, Peter Galison and Robb Moss weigh the pros and the cons of this phenomenon; they illustrate the ways in which non-disclosure can often serve as an asset (as in the case of a 1983 mass murder that could have been prevented via greater secrecy), including counterterrorist maneuvers. At the same time, Moss and Galison reflect at length on the dangers of this process -- the ways in which the obfuscation of public knowledge can slow or prevent transnational agreements, create paranoia, and lead to incredible violations of personal privacy. As such, the film meditates on that difficult gray area that lies sandwiched in between democracy and national safety, and asks where the rights of the general populace begin and end.
counterterrorism, government, paranoia, public, public-eye, top-secret