Thursday, March 2, 2017

Presidential Secrecy Doesn't Work In The Digital Age

One of the most oft used phrases when talking about Presidents or any leader that gets involved in scandal is “what did he know and when did he know it.” Perhaps if the context of that question were reversed and the question was what did the American people know and when did they know it, we’d have less such scandal.

Presidential and executive secrecy has long been a tension in American history. Our founders worried about it. Congress and the executive branch have worried about it, and at various times, the American people have worried about it.

Today as we face these issues on steroids, in the Trump administration, we face a whole new landscape. The digital era creates both challenges and opportunity for the public and for the President.

Mary Graham has authored three books on the politics of information and is the co-founder and co-directs the Transparency Policy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her most recent work is Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power.

My conversation with Mary Graham: