Before God gets the news, it’s classified,
The secrets glut imparts another cost, one that can’t be measured in dollars, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned in his 1998 book, Secrecy: The American Experience. Just as excessive economic regulation blocks efficient transmission of the market’s supply and demand signals, the hoarding of secrets locks vital knowledge away from politicians, policymakers, and the public, who need the best information to conduct informed debates and make wise decisions. However difficult the quandary when Moynihan was writing, it’s much worse now. By FY 2011, the volume of new classified documents created annually had risen to 92 million from six million at the time Secrecy was published.
A good read if you want to know the difference between the Snowden and Manning leaks. The problem, I think, that we do not wish to confront in all of this,
And while Kris argued Congress’ subsequent approval of the dragnets cures this original sin, the record in fact shows it did so only under flawed conditions of partial knowledge. Of course, these attempts to paper over a constitutional problem only succeed so long as they remain shrouded in secrecy.
That the first response of many is to resort to legalistic attempts to prioritize the underlying secrecy over the Constitution raises questions about what they believe they are protecting. The next torture scandal? Covert ops that might serve the interest of certain autocratic allies but actually make Americans less secure? The financial hemorrhage that is our military industrial complex? The sheer ignorance our bloated intelligence community has about subjects of great importance? Petty turf wars? Past failures of the national security system we’re encouraged to trust implicitly?
At some point, we need to attend to protecting our Constitution again. If Article I and III have gotten so scared of their own impotence (or so compromised) that they can no longer do so, then by all means lets make that clear by revealing more of the problems.
It isn’t any wonder the FBI has changed its’ primary function to National Security from Law Enforcement.
Noticed last month by McClanahan, ForeignPolicy.com reports that the fact sheet used to list the “primary function” of the FBI as being “law enforcement.” The new fact sheet indicates that it is “national security.”
McClanahan believes this is part of an effort to “rebrand” the FBI. “So many good things happen to your agency when you tie it to national security.”
The road to hell is, indeed, paved with good intentions. Good intentions of well meaning people, a noble goal of keeping America safe, and yet the cure for the disease is to kill the patient. Perhaps we should seek a second opinion.