Secret Science

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Foerstel argues convincingly that federal control of science and technology is both a serious threat to democracy and a profoundly ineffective way to organize the scientific enterprise. Booklist required reading for anyone concerned with continued abuses of power by the military-industrial complex.

Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This discussion of what is perhaps the government's most intransigent First Amendment dilemma--whether science is protected as free speech--seems weak and unfocused compared to the consequences of the problem. Skirting the larger legal issue, Foerstel ( Surveillance in the Stacks ) dissects a few test cases, such as those challenging the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, to give a very rough sketch of the constitutional conflict between national security and the nature of science. An examination of industrial espionage and the government's role in protecting ``proprietary information'' cites recent business and government transactions with foreign businesses and goverments. Ultimately, lack of structure and the short focal length of Foerstel's view severely limit the reader's grasp of this complicated topic. (Apr.)
Foerstel, head of the engineering and physical sciences library at the University of Maryland, argues for scientific openness and free access to information. He says government attempts at secrecy and export restrictions on technology are obsolete, futile anyway, and only serve to stifle scientific advancement. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Mary Carroll
Foerstel, whose study of the FBI's Library Awareness Program, "Surveillance in the Stacks" , will be familiar to most librarians, here broadens his focus to address the consequences--for science, for government, for business, and for democracy--of continuing efforts by the U.S. government to control scientific information. After outlining the essential conflict between free scientific inquiry and national security restrictions, "Secret Science" traces the growth of science's dependence on the government--and the government's restrictions on science--in terms of overclassification, the very special paranoia engendered by "atomic secrets," the relatively unknown governmental limitations on cryptographic technology, the development of the "sensitive but unclassified" category of information (which figured so prominently in the Library Awareness Program), and the fascination of agencies like the FBI, the CIA, and NSA with "economic competitiveness" as a new "national security" objective. Foerstel argues convincingly that federal control of science and technology is both a serious threat to democracy and a profoundly ineffective way to organize the scientific enterprise.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275944476
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/1993
  • Pages: 238
  • Lexile: 1540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

HERBERT N. FOERSTEL is Head of Branch Libraries and Head of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Library at the University of Maryland.

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Table of Contents

1 Science and the National Security State 1
2 National Security Controls on Science 19
3 Atomic Secrets 49
4 Cryptography: A Government Monopoly in Science 97
5 Not Quite Classified 143
6 The End of the Scientific Cold War 193
Selected Bibliography 219
Index 221
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