Friday, July 23, 2010

Negative Information Action: Danger for Democracy

Negative Information Action: Danger for Democracy

Christopher L. Hinson

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA,
This article explores evidence of, and provides insight into, secrecy-related information actions that are sometimes used to circumvent established government policy and law. These information actions may also be used to cover up such circumventions after the fact. To better understand secrecy as a negative information action and its impact on democracy, secrecy-related information actions are described according to methods, information technologies, and knowledge support. Negative information actions are willful and deliberate acts designed to keep government information from those in government and the public entitled to it. Negative information actions subvert the rule of law and the constitutional checks and balances. Negative information actions used by government officials to violate policies and laws during the IranContra Affair are identified, analyzed, and categorized by type. The relative impact of negative information actions on enlightened citizen understanding is demonstrated using a Negative Information Action Model by assigning a location according to type on a continuum of enlightened citizen understanding. Findings are compared with democratic theory and conspiracy doctrine.

American Behavioral Scientist
February 2010; 53(6)

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