Secrecy, Openness and National Security: Lessons and Issues for the Next Administration

Posted in Home page featured

Secrecy, Openness and National Security:

Lessons and Issues for the Next Administration



Monday, April 27, 2015

1:00 PM to 5:15 PM


Johns Hopkins University

Krieger School of Arts and Sciences

Bernstein-Offutt Building

1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Room LL-7

Washington, DC


Sponsored by:


Issues of secrecy, openness, and classification have been thrust to the forefront of America’s political attention in recent years.  Since September 11, 2001, the United States has had both Republican and Democratic Presidents but they seem not to have differed much with regard to these issues.  The Obama Administration came into office promising to be the most open administration in history.  Yet, some people allege that it has engaged in a “war on leakers” and has persecuted legitimate national security whistleblowers.  Meanwhile, more documents are being classified than ever before, existing declassification procedures are unevenly applied, and vast numbers of important historical documents remain classified.  What really is the scope of the secrecy issues facing the United States and what might the next administration do about it?


1:00 – 3:00:  Panel 1:  Whistleblowing and America’s Secrets: Ensuring a Viable Balance

An increase in the number of classified leak prosecutions has created worries about whether sufficient pathways and protections exist to be a national security whistleblower.  This panel will discuss recent prosecutions, the value and dangers of leaking, whistleblower protections, and the future of the Espionage Act.

  • Ken Dilanian, Associated Press
  • Robert Litt, J.D., General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Dr. Gabriel Schoenfeld, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
  • Stephen Vladeck, J.D., Professor of Law, American University;  Just Security
  • Mark Zaid, J.D., Executive Director, James Madison Project; adjunct faculty, Johns Hopkins University (moderator, discussant)

3:00 – 3:15:  Refreshments

3:15-5:15:  Panel 2:  Declassification: A Losing Battle?

By world standards, the United States Government has a remarkably thorough declassification system.  Yet, the procedures are unevenly applied, important historical records remain needlessly classified, and the quantity of classified records grows much faster than declassification procedures can possibly handle.  This panel will consider the current system and how it might be improved.

  • Professor Matthew Connelly, Department of History, Columbia University
  • Mr. John Fitzpatrick, Director, Information Security Oversight Office, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Katherine Hawkins, J.D., National Security Fellow, Open the Government
  • Professor Christopher Moran, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
  • Dr. Mark Stout, Director, Global Security Studies and Intelligence Programs, Johns Hopkins University, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, (moderator, discussant)


 Administrative Information

RSVP: Nicole Cosey (, Johns Hopkins University

This conference will be on the record.