Secret Science In Cold War's Aftermath: Who's Peeking?

The Cold War is over, but government-imposed secrecy in United States science has not been relaxed, say many scientists and policy analysts. They add that more harm than good is being done by continuing the classification system at peak levels, asserting that the process of science, like that of democracy, thrives on the free exchange of information. And, while some of them disagree as to whether secrecy is on the increase or decrease in science, most say that the legal authority for a class

Franklin Hoke
Jul 5, 1992
The Cold War is over, but government-imposed secrecy in United States science has not been relaxed, say many scientists and policy analysts. They add that more harm than good is being done by continuing the classification system at peak levels, asserting that the process of science, like that of democracy, thrives on the free exchange of information.

And, while some of them disagree as to whether secrecy is on the increase or decrease in science, most say that the legal authority for a classification system described as excessive is due for review and, potentially, trimming.

"There are opportunities being provided to reassess the situation" of excessive or inappropriate classification, says Theodore Postol, a physicist and a professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "But the situation is not getting any better. In fact, it may be getting worse."

In December 1983, scientists...