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How “national security” became the handmaiden of government secrecy

We can no longer rely on the public right to know being upheld

By Richard Norton-Taylor  

“National security!” The phrase echoes around Whitehall. Once the appeal of last resort for ministers and officials desiring secrecy, it is invoked with increasing frequency as they face the prospect of wrongdoing being exposed, or simply embarrassment.

The cry goes up to suppress information and stifle debate. Egged on by their advisers, politicians hope that parliament and public opinion will defer to claims that disclosure would endanger…

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