Secrecy and deception by those in power is a commonplace in contemporary politics. They seem to be even more pervasive and are generating widespread cynicism among the public. Yet this is the first work to give this phenomenon of 'official lying' pride of place and subject it to critical assessment. It also breaks new ground in combining the perspectives of political philosophy and political sociological analysis in that assessment. The treatment includes a number of empirical accounts of case-studies spanning foreign policy (the Iran-Contra affair, arms to Iraq, Pergau Dam) and internal politics and policies on everything from security to the environment (war on drugs, Northern Ireland security policy, mad- cow disease). In a practical conclusion, there is a discussion of what can be done in democracies to expand openness and accountability - by governments (freedom of information, for example) and by citizens empowering themselves.