Why Now? Episode 13: If I Told You, I Would Have To Kill You

A conversation with historian Matthew Connelly about his new book, “The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets”

On this episode, my guest is here to help us parse the world of government secrecy—its history, practices, and dilemmas—and how the classification system undermines our democracy. Matthew Connelly is a professor of international and global history at Columbia University and the co-director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. He’s the principal investigator of History Lab, a National Science Foundation-funded project that applies data science to the problem of preserving the public record and accelerating declassification. Out of that work came a new book, The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets (Penguin/Random House, 2022), a book about the vast and dizzying world of national security, from Pearl Harbor to the garages and closets of 21st-century ex-presidents.

If you are trying to decide whether to buy Matt’s book after listening to the episode, you might want to read the review in the New York Times.

You can download this podcast here or subscribe for free on Apple iTunesSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or Soundcloud. Do you use another service? Let me know in the comments, and I will submit it to them!

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