march, 2023

7mar6:00 pm- 7:30 pmHow Can America’s System for Making Secrets Get Back Under Control? (Matthew Connelly)

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Location: International Affairs Building, Room 1501, 420 West 118th Street, New York, NY 10027

Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EST

Register here.

Every year, the U.S. government creates tens of millions of new secrets. Top secret documents have been turning up in the strangest places, triggering Justice Department investigations of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. What are the consequences for national security and democratic accountability? And what can possibly be done to advance a more rational, risk-management approach to safeguarding dangerous information while accelerating the release of public records?

Join us for a panel discussion about the history, and future, of official secrecy. It will feature new discoveries from Columbia’s History Lab, which has been using artificial intelligence to analyze the world’s largest database of declassified documents. Participants will also bring fresh perspectives from the frontlines of law, journalism, and data science, and discuss whether it would be possible – and wise – to build a “Declassification Engine.”


Emily Bazelon, Senior Research Scholar in Law and Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School
Matthew Connelly, Professor of History at Columbia; author of The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals about America’s Top Secrets
Barton Gelman, three-time Pulitzer Prize winner; staff writer at The Atlantic
Timothy Naftali, founding director of the Nixon Presidential Library; clinical associate professor of public service at NYU
Chris H. Wiggins, Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at Columbia; Chief Data Scientist of The New York Times


(Tuesday) 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


IAB 1501