A Troubling Equation in Contracts for Government Funded Scientific Research: “Sensitive But Unclassified” = Secret But Unconstitutional

Breakthrough science can lead both to great good and to great evil. The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the anthrax letter attacks that followed highlight the fact that our enemies may use our own advanced science and technology against us. When the dissemination of scientific information might jeopardize national security, the federal government’s primary response has always been to try to control the spread of that information. In a variety of ways, the government has long restricted public access to scientific information in the government’s possession. Since September 11, the government has further tightened access to its own information, withholding from public view not just classified data but also so-called “sensitive” information, the release of which it says could pose a danger to national security.

By Leslie Gielow Jacobs

Professor Jacobs has been a Professor at Pacific McGeorge since 1993. During this time, she has authored a substantial and important body of scholarship on constitutional doctrine, governance and national security, and particularly on government speech. Professor Jacobs' articles have appeared in law journals at Yale, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State, UC Davis, Rutgers, Tulane, Florida and Indiana. Her separate pieces of scholarship on bioterrorism and national security have appeared as invited submissions to Homeland Security: Law and Policy (William Nicholson, ed. 2005), Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense (J. Wiley, 2005), the Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and the interdisciplinary journal, Biosecurity & Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice & Science. Professor Jacobs is co-author of law review pieces addressing law reform in Indonesia and two volumes in the Pacific McGeorge Global Issues series designed to bring international and comparative law into core law school classes, Global Issues in Constitutional Law and Global Issues in Freedom of Speech and Religion.

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