Medill/ABA book looks at balancing act between transparency, secrecy and the First Amendment

A discussion about the book will be held at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1. RSVP here.

CHICAGO, Oct. 15, 2014 — A new book from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University offers in-depth analysis of the balance of secrecy, security and transparency in our democracy. This fundamental tension, which was clearly intended by the Founding Fathers to ensure an effective and accountable government, lies at the heart of challenges for those who seek to protect our nation’s borders and interests and those whose job it is to inform and enlighten the public about the activities of its government.

“Whistleblowers, Leaks, and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security” delves into the various areas of law surrounding the recent and well-known cases of NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Private First Class Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, among others. Are these individuals whistleblowers, exposing the inner workings of an overreaching government? Or are they traitors, inhibiting America’s ability to defend itself against threats?

Edited by experts in the fields of journalism and national security, the book features contributions from lawyers, government officials, heads of public interest organizations, First Amendment scholars, members of the press and law professors. It offers a fascinating and detailed look at the fundamental and necessary tension between secrecy and transparency in American society.

Title                 “Whistleblowers, Leaks, and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security”
Publisher:       ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security
Pages:             296
Product Code: 3550025
ISBN:               978-1-62722-825-1
Size:                6 x 9
Binding:          Paperback
Price:               $39.95
Orders:            Order the book at or call 800-285-2221.

What others are saying about “Whistleblowers, Leaks, and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security”


“Finally, a clear and sober explanation of the issues involved in balancing secrecy, security and transparency in our democratic society. This book should help replace overheated rhetoric with reasoned debate.”

— David Wood, Senior Military Correspondent, The Huffington Post; 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner for national reporting


“If knowledge is power, then the distribution of information lies at the core of politics. This thorough but accessible book provides a trove of valuable material for social scientists—and there should be many—who wish to investigate the relationship between secrets, journalists, the public, and the state.” — Jonathan D. Caverley, Research Associate in Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; author of “Democratic Militarism: Voting, Wealth, and War.”


“At last, a comprehensive exploration of national security laws and the tensions between the public’s right to know and the government’s right to protect its interests. This book will be an invaluable resource for journalists and lawyers as well as students studying to enter these professions. A compilation of thoughtful essays that explores the Constitutional foundations and limitations of the U.S. government in a contemporary context, the book examines how laws and freedoms collide in cases when individuals leak information to the news media. The book clearly explains Supreme Court interpretations of law that pit press freedoms against government interests and considers how big data is affecting privacy. It is a practical, easy to understand guide for journalists, lawyers and government officials.” — Dr. Barbara Barnett, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas

Editor’s note: Author interviews and review copies are available by sending an email to Dean Pappas at If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Dean Pappas, c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.


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