Legal Studies

LGST 124 Government Secrecy

Studies the history of America's regime of government secrecy from a human rights perspective. Focus is the dispiriting history of judicial deference to executive authority that enabled the massive secrecy regime to establish and perpetuate itself. Tracing the origin of the secrecy state to the nuclear program during World War II, students consider how the "state secrets doctrine" was codified in early Cold War jurisprudence as an all-purpose alibi for government interventions abroad and surveillance at home. The second half of the course turns to the 21st century War on Terror, highlighting the kidnappings, torture, and assassinations perpetrated by the secrecy state, with an eye on the role of the court system as a vehicle for exposure and redress.