Is this paper dangerous? Balancing secrecy and openness in counterterrorism

Jacob N. Shapiro, David A. Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We analyze a seemingly simple question: When should government share private information that may be useful to terrorists? Policy makers' answer to this question has typically been "it is dangerous to share information that can potentially help terrorists." Unfortunately, this incomplete response has motivated a detrimental increase in the amount of information government keeps private or labels "sensitive but unclassified." We identify two distinct types of private information that are potentially useful to terrorists and identify the range of conditions under which sharing each can enhance counterterrorism efforts. Our results highlight the complex trade-offs policy makers face in deciding how much openness is right in a world where protecting the people from terrorists has become a central duty of government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-98
Number of pages33
JournalSecurity Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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