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What are the pros and cons of the United States government withholding information from its citizens? 

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This really depends on the type of information that is being withheld. For example, one major controversy at this time is the so called "ag-gag" laws in which state legislatures are making it illegal to publicize animal abuse in industrial livestock organizations. Criminalizing honest reporting does a major disservice to...

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This really depends on the type of information that is being withheld. For example, one major controversy at this time is the so called "ag-gag" laws in which state legislatures are making it illegal to publicize animal abuse in industrial livestock organizations. Criminalizing honest reporting does a major disservice to the public; the public also has a right to know the amount of money legislators are receiving from the agriculture industry so that they can make informed decisions about voting.

Similarly, the existence of Super-PACs harms the democratic process by making opaque the names of people who are funding political candidates, subverting the democratic process which is based on voters' ability to make informed choices. The government needs to ensure that all information relevant to making judgments that inform voting, including politicians' contacts with lobbyists and campaign funding, is freely available. 

A less clear cut case is funding for military projects. Some of military spending is opaque because the money is spent on "black projects", highly classified projects whose funding details are not made publicly available; in fact, details of some such projects may not even be available to most members of Congress.

On the one hand, it is important that leading edge developments in military technology not fall into the hands of foreign powers, and keeping all information about such projects on a "need to know" basis can protect such information against espionage. On the other hand, not all "black projects" really need such a high level of secrecy from the viewpoint of military intelligence. In some cases, secrecy about military funding can conceal cost overruns and politically motivated funding for companies in the constituencies of powerful members of Congress. In such cases, secrecy harms the right of voters in a democracy to make decisions about government spending.

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