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Secrecy -- With homeland security and the war on terror becoming increasingly important issues, the U.S. government has grown more and more secretive, allegedly to protect the country and save lives. But is this culture of secrets at odds with democracy? This documentary examines both the pros and cons of government concealment by focusing on classified secrets and the arguments the government makes in the name of national security.


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Release Date:
12 September 2008 (USA) See more »
Amidst the American hunger for instantaneous news and up-to-date "facts," this unflinching film uncovers the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. | Add synopsis »
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Extremeley Well Done--Takes Documentary Film-making to a new level See more (6 total) »


Steven Aftergood ... Himself - Government Secrecy Project, Federation of American Scientists
Thomas Blanton ... Himself
James Bruce ... Himself - Senior Executive Officer, CIA, 1981-2005
Steven Garfinkel ... Himself - Director, 1978-2001, U.S. Information Security Oversight Office
Barton Gellman ... Himself - Reporter, Special Projects, The Washington Post
Sig Hecker ... Himself - Director, 1986-1997, Los Alamos National Lab
Neal Katyal ... Himself
Mike Levin ... Himself - Chief, Information Policy, National Security Agency, 1947-1993
Judy Palya Loether ... Herself - Father, Al Palya died in 'Reynolds' crash
Melissa Boyle Mahle ... Herself

Dan Rather ... Himself (archive footage)
Patricia Reynolds ... Herself - Widow of Robert Reynolds
Charles Swift ... Himself - Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Navy JAG Attorney for Plaintiff, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

Ben Wizner ... Himself - Attorney for Plaintiff, El-Masri v. United States

Directed by
Peter Galison 
Robb Moss 
Produced by
Dan Cogan .... supervising producer
Jim Swartz .... co-executive producer
Original Music by
John Kusiak 
Cinematography by
Austin De Besche (director of photography) (as Austin de Beche)
Stephen McCarthy (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Chyld King 
Art Department
Elaine J. McCarthy .... background design
Sound Department
Coll Anderson .... supervising sound re-recording mixer
Mark Filip .... sound designer
Trent Richmond .... dialogue editor
Matt Snedecor .... assistant sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph Christofori .... assistant camera
Phil Darrell .... gaffer
Tom Doran .... key grip
Brant Fagan .... steadicam
Music Department
P. Andrew Willis .... composer: additional music
Other crew
Caitlin Boyle .... associate producer
Maud Dillingham .... production assistant
Rich Remsberg .... archival researcher
Anne Stulz .... publicist
Linda Morgenstern .... thanks

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
85 min
Sound Mix:


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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Extremeley Well Done--Takes Documentary Film-making to a new level, 6 May 2008
Author: randi75 from California

I just saw this film at the San Francisco International Film Festival (in Berkeley) Without a lot of self-righteousness or bloviation, this film is superb. It takes a subject which may not lend itself well to film and makes it immediate and visual. The use of animation and music is masterful. The interlocutors (lighted beautifully) make you hang on to every word they say.

It has a point, but it allows other viewpoints in, and not just straw men. The filmmakers give credible, reasonable arguments for taking a position which is ostensibly alternative to theirs. It actually stays away from, for the most part, the easy, well worn targets and examines in a fresh way, the impact of secrecy. Interestingly, at no point do they ever suggest giving up security--Actually they seem to be very much in favor of it.

Interestingly, Dan Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers) was in the audience when I saw this movie. I'm surprised he would be drawn to it, having lived it firsthand but it shows the quality of the work.

A masterpiece.

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