Government secrecy frequently fails. […] The effort to control government information requires human, bureaucratic, technological, and textual mechanisms that regularly founder or collapse in an administrative state, sometimes immediately and sometimes after an interval. Leaks, mistakes, open sources—each of these constitutes a path out of the government’s informational clutches. As a result, permanent, long-lasting secrecy of any sort and to any degree is costly and difficult to accomplish.
This Article argues that information control is an implausible goal. […]
[E]vents that are kept in deep secrecy become known as their details leak out over time, whether through formal or informal channels. Most events exist in a gray world of partial secrecy and partial disclosure, where even information about events whose existence the government denies is available from open sources, and where even events about which the government has made broad disclosures remain somewhat secret and mysterious. Government information is not subject to control via an on-off switch; instead, it appears incrementally over time, both around and in spite of the literal and figurative black marks of government efforts to control its spread.