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Bolton Book Fight Shows Flaws in U.S. System to Protect Secrets

  • Backlogs in pre-publication vetting for classified information
  • Authors allege political bias in review of their manuscripts
John Bolton's book ‘The Room Where it Happened’ 

John Bolton's book ‘The Room Where it Happened’ 

Photographer: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

The legal fight over John Bolton’s unflattering memoir about his time as national security adviser to President Donald Trump centers on a much-maligned government process for vetting what former U.S. secret-keepers can reveal to the public.

Former government officials say the process for screening their writings to prevent the release of classified information has become increasingly cumbersome over the years, with approvals taking far too long and demands for changes or redactions that seem to reflect political bias more than concern for national security.