Open secrets and dirty hands
In light of the just-released report on CIA torture, this 2012 book chapter, “Open Secrets and Dirty Hands,” might be of interest. “Complaints about secretiveness were commonplace throughout the presidency of George W. Bush. Such complaints overestimated the capacity of a contemporary President to maintain secrecy. Moreover, they overlooked the reality that information about the worst abuses of the Bush administration was generally accessible to the public. We professed ignorance about governmental kidnapping, indefinite detention, and prisoner abuse, even though details about such practices were readily available.” Read on SSRN.
This chapter was published in The Secrets of Law (Stanford University Press, 2012). Kevin Wagner reviewed the book for Law and Politics Book Review in March 2014. “Alasdair Roberts’ ‘Open Secrets and Dirty Hands’ is an excellent look back at the secrecy conflict during the Bush Administration. He effectively presents the idea of a willing ignorance as a complicit element of perceived government secrecy.” Read the review.