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Full-Text Articles in Law

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Transparency, Sam F. Halabi Jan 2018

Yes, There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Transparency, Sam F. Halabi

Faculty Publications

In a world where secret meetings and resulting agreements seem particularly suspect, it might be tempting to think that the growing norm of transparency might keep the world a more harmonious place. Woodrow Wilson famously extolled the virtues of "open covenants of peace, openly arrived at...." Ashley Deeks, in her recent article, A (Qualified) Defense of Secret Agreements, asks us to think again of this norm and dictum. Her article is one I like a lot, and I hope others active in the study and shaping of international law and international relations do as well.


Restoring The Balance Between Secrecy And Transparency: The Prosecution Of Nationai Security Leaks Under The Espionage Act, Christina E. Wells Jan 2017

Restoring The Balance Between Secrecy And Transparency: The Prosecution Of Nationai Security Leaks Under The Espionage Act, Christina E. Wells

Faculty Publications

This Issue Brief reviews the relationship between secrecy, transparency and accountability in the United States, including the role of anonymous leaks. It also examines the threat that increased Espionage Act prosecutions pose to government accountability and discusses why changes to the Espionage Act are necessary to preserve an appropriate balance between government secrecy and transparency.


Cia V. Sims: Mosaic Theory And Government Attitude, Christina E. Wells Jan 2006

Cia V. Sims: Mosaic Theory And Government Attitude, Christina E. Wells

Faculty Publications

In CIA v. Sims, the United States Supreme Court held that the CIA could withhold information about controversial government-sponsored psychological experiments in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The Court reasoned that the requested information would reveal intelligence sources related to national defense, which were specifically protected from disclosure under the National Security Act of 1947. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the CIA could refuse to disclose the information under FOIA Exemption 3, which allows withholding of information “specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.” Numerous scholars assailed Sims, arguing that the Court's broad reading of the National Security …


Foreword - Interdisciplinary Perspectives On Fear And Risk Perception In Times Of Democratic Crisis (Symposium), Christina E. Wells, Jennifer K. Robbennolt Oct 2004

Foreword - Interdisciplinary Perspectives On Fear And Risk Perception In Times Of Democratic Crisis (Symposium), Christina E. Wells, Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Faculty Publications

The articles and essays included or referenced in this volume discuss both the factors that affect decision making in times of crisis and their implications for law and democratic theory. Professor Cass Sunstein's keynote address, Fear and Liberty, noted that psychological biases such as the availability heuristic and probability neglect can skew risk perception, leading to excessive public fear of national security risks and unreasonable curtailment of civil liberties. According to Sunstein, courts, which are typically responsible for protecting civil liberties, often lack sufficient information to assess whether national security concerns justify incursions on civil liberties. Nevertheless, he concluded that …


Questioning Deference, Christina E. Wells Oct 2004

Questioning Deference, Christina E. Wells

Faculty Publications

This article examines the accepted axiom that courts should defer to the government's actions during national security crises even when such actions potentially violate citizens' constitutional rights. The paper questions two assumptions underlying that axiom - first, that executive officials are best equipped to determine when security needs justify liberty infringements and, second, that judges are particularly unqualified to meddle in security issues, even when civil liberties are involved. Relying on psychological theories regarding the role that fear plays in skewing risk assessment and historical analyses of past crises, the paper argues that times of crisis lend themselves to unnecessary …


Fear And Risk In 'Times Of Crisis': The Media's Challenge, Richard C. Reuben Oct 2004

Fear And Risk In 'Times Of Crisis': The Media's Challenge, Richard C. Reuben

Faculty Publications

As we have heard time and again during this conference, perspective is a crucial safeguard against the distorting effect of fear. While space and consumer patience may be thin, it is during times of crisis that the media's capacity to provide context becomes most important. This is part of the challenge of risk communication. Editors need to insist on this perspective rather than trying to cut it out if the story still reads, and reporters need to learn how to write about it effectively as well as compellingly. None of these challenges is easy. Institutional reform never is. But I …


"National Security" Information And The Freedom Of Information Act, Christina E. Wells Oct 2004

"National Security" Information And The Freedom Of Information Act, Christina E. Wells

Faculty Publications

Secrecy regarding national security information is a widely accepted phenomenon. Throughout history, however, such secrecy has proved problematic. Although officials often have credible and legitimate reasons to keep national security information secret, government secrecy initiatives have invariably expanded to encompass information beyond their initial rationale. Over time, we have come to realize the very real problems associated with excessive government secrecy.


Information Control In Times Of Crisis: The Tools Of Repression (Symposium, Privacy And Surveillance), Christina E. Wells Jan 2004

Information Control In Times Of Crisis: The Tools Of Repression (Symposium, Privacy And Surveillance), Christina E. Wells

Faculty Publications

This article identifies several tools of information control that occur consistently throughout history. The government does not use all of these tools in every national security crisis. Nor does it always abuse them. However, the patterns that emerge suggest a certain predictability to (1) the government's actions during national security crises, and (2) the potentially negative consequences flowing from them that warrants our attention. Understanding this historical pattern of government action allows one to identify and potentially prevent future problems. This is especially important in the post-9/11 world in which the government has asked for and received controversial powers with …