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Secrets and LeaksThe Dilemma of State Secrecy$
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Rahul Sagar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168180

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168180.001.0001

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Should We Trust Leakers?

Should We Trust Leakers?

Anonymous Sources and the Problem of Regulation

(p.153) Chapter 6 Should We Trust Leakers?
Secrets and Leaks

Rahul Sagar

Princeton University Press

This chapter explains the practice of leaking as a means by which officials could alert citizens and lawmakers to wrongdoing. It shows that officials are able to disclose classified information anonymously, because they recognize that the executive is often hard-pressed to identify the responsible party. However, it also highlights the fact that officials can—and do—make anonymous disclosures of classified information to advance narrow or partisan agendas by revealing classified information that casts their actions (or those of their adversaries) in a favorable (or unfavorable) light. In light of this danger, the chapter considers whether we might be able to utilize reporters, editors, and publishers to help us detect when anonymity of disclosures is being used to advance narrow or partisan interests.

Keywords:   leaking, wrongdoing, classified information disclosure, anonymity of disclosures, executive

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