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First Amendment

2008

Boston College Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Lapdogs, Watchdogs, And Scapegoats: The Press And National Security Information, Mary-Rose Papandrea Feb 2008

Lapdogs, Watchdogs, And Scapegoats: The Press And National Security Information, Mary-Rose Papandrea

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In the United States, the Executive branch possesses virtually unbridled classification authority to keep information from the public. Although the Freedom of Information Act and whistleblower protection laws serve as some check on the Executive’s power over national security information, these tools remain largely ineffectual. Because the desire for tight information control competes with the demands of newsgathering, a “game of leaks” has developed among government officials and reporters in which the press alternatively serves as lapdogs, watchdogs, and scapegoats for the Executive branch. This Article demonstrates that the government has been communicating information to the public through leaks ...