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Journalist and Law Professor Scott Horton Talks About His New Book, “Lords of Secrecy”

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Scott Horton, who lectures on law at Columbia and is a contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, talks about the threats to our constitutional rights from the increasing layers of secrecy in government.We open with Horton’s comments on a list of important cases that challenge the governments claims of secrecy in the cause of national security.  First, we talk about the June, 2006 deaths of 3 Guantanamo prisoners, which Horton first exposed in Harper’s.  A new book by one of Horton’s key sources, former guard Joseph Hickman, has renewed interest in these alleged “suicides”.

We discuss the ACLU suit demanding release of the remaining photos of torture and other lawbreaking at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, amid continuing, hollow claims that release must be prevented to protect American troops.

Next, we talk about the recent conviction of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling under the espionage act, which relied on circumstantial evidence including telephone calling records that linked Sterling to NY Times reporter James Risen.

And we talk about the public perjury of DNI James Clapper, comparing his immunity with the credibility crisis facing NBC’s Brian Williams.

From these, Horton articulates his thesis about excessive secrecy, a “narcotic” that leads to even more secrecy–to the absurd point that information we already know is declared retroactively “secret”.

We also talk about a new article by Mark Ames at Pando which blames passage of the 1980’s law that criminalizes disclosure of the names of covert operators (which was used to convict John Kiriakou) on the ACLU, Ron Paul and a former executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.