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42 Fed. Comm. L.J. 433 (1989-1990)
National Security Information: Its Proper Role and Scope in a Representative Democracy

handle is hein.journals/fedcom42 and id is 443 raw text is: National Security Information: Its
Proper Role and Scope in a
Representative Democracy
Anthony R. Klein*
Regardless of what happens in the world, recent events in-
dicate that no change in the official thinking about national se-
curity and the release of classified government information is
about to occur. Two stories in the Los Angeles Times reveal a
continuing Cold War fear of information leaks. The first article
discusses Attorney General Thornburgh's attempts to restrict
the flow of information from the Justice Department to the
press.' The second involves misconduct charges dismissed
against one of the men allegedly involved in the Iran-Contra
scandal because the Bush administration refused to release cer-
tain classified information crucial to the case.2 Both raise seri-
* A.B. Harvard College 1986. J.D. UCLA School of Law 1990.'
1. Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30, 1989, at A22, col. 1.
2. Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30, 1989, at Al, col. 3. Of course, the motives for
the refusal to release the information may not have been the purest. Obvious political
advantage would be gained by the Republican administration if an agent of its prede-
cessor were not convicted. This naturally raises the problem of the abuses of classifi-
cation of documents. When the Attorney General filed papers to block the release of
the classified documents, Independent Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh charged that the
government was protecting fictional secrets, many of which had already been pub-
lished. San Jose Mercury, Nov. 23, 1989, at 20A, col. 1.
One veteran reporter, Don Oberdorfer, writes that, in his experience, nearly
every action, recommendation, or policy decision in the foreign policy or national
security field is classified as a secret by someone at some time, often without valid
reason, except for bureaucratic convenience. Abrams, Holzer, Oberdorfer & Wil-
lard, The First Amendment and National Security, 43 U. MIAMi L. REv. 61, 75 (1988)
(hereinafter First Amendment and National Security).
Several cases have emerged from the Iran-Contra scandal relating to press access
to judicial documents. These cases are somewhat tangential to the inquiry here. See
infra, note 147 and accompanying text.

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