Harvard Book Store Talk with Mary Graham, Author of Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power


Thursday, February 23, 2017, 7:00pm to 8:00pm


Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138

Join Mary Graham at the Harvard Book Store as she discusses her recently released book, Presidents’ Secrets: The Use and Abuse of Hidden Power. Graham, a Senior Fellow at the Ash Center, co-directs the center's Transparency Policy Project. 

About Presidents' Secrets

Ever since the nation’s most important secret meeting—the Constitutional Convention—presidents have struggled to balance open, accountable government with necessary secrecy in military affairs and negotiations. For the first one hundred and twenty years, a culture of open government persisted, but new threats and technology have long since shattered the old bargains. Today, presidents neither protect vital information nor provide the open debate Americans expect.
Mary Graham tracks the rise in governmental secrecy that began with surveillance and loyalty programs during Woodrow Wilson’s administration, explores how it developed during the Cold War, and analyzes efforts to reform the secrecy apparatus and restore oversight in the 1970s. Chronicling the expansion of presidential secrecy in the Bush years, Graham explains what presidents and the American people can learn from earlier crises, why the attempts of Congress to rein in stealth activities don’t work, and why presidents cannot hide actions that affect citizens’ rights and values.