Comments on: Obama and America’s culture of secrecy Tue, 31 Mar 2015 01:18:20 +0000 hourly 1 By: paintcan Sat, 15 Oct 2011 04:57:08 +0000 No one writes about the Wikileaks state department documents anymore. I tried to read a few dozen. Other than the videotape of the gunship battle in Baghdad that was the cause of death of a Reuters reporter, several possibly unarmed men and several children in the van, they did not contain information that seemed to say more than articles I used to read In Foreign Affairs Journal.

The Journals present it in more compact and coherent form. But it was interesting to see how diplomats speak to each other and the array of subjects they discuss: much more than I thought and far more than I can remember. Unless one is in the business of government or journalism it just isn’t worth the sheer slogging haul of trying to read 250,000 documents. It was also all out of date.

But secrecy of documents is not the issue. Secrecy of legal processes and cases that invoke the right to kill, imprison, or deprive them of their property is. A nation lives with internal secrets and its citizens have a right to their privacy. But they do not have to waste time and resources second guessing each other or building elaborate and expensive defenses against each other, usually. If they did it would be called a civil war. But urban life is apparently crawling with video surveillance equipment that never seems to be where the next shoot out or other relatively minor catastrophe occurs. It is expensive to own and maintain and may not be worth the trouble. It has helped apprehend robbers.

There seem to be more problems in broad day light that are making economic life difficult for billions of people than secret issues of defense strategy.

When the Titanic struck the iceberg the captain tried to keep it secret but it got too obvious what was happening. And actually the crew didn’t know precisely what was going on at all times. They didn’t have enough factual information about the distribution of lifeboats or the location of other ships in the area. Their secrets were dwarfed by their ignorance.

Maybe the government uses classification as a mnemonic devise to remind itself that the information is important at all. I wonder how much is ever looked at twice? It only works if human heads incorporate it, understand it and can use it. If many of them don’t see the information, how effective can it be and was it worthwhile collecting it at all?

They also use it to maintain order within the organization. It insures that all the employees are dependent on the chain of command. It can be very manipulative and nefarious. The mafia liked it secrets too.

You write some of the most enjoyable articles Mr. Debusmann

By: AnonIntelBubba Sat, 15 Oct 2011 02:29:48 +0000 Part of the problem is that we are really bad at derivative classification. We Intelink a document that was previously over-classified and use it to derivatively classify the doc we’re working on, keeping that overclassificaiton alive. We need a central site for Security Classifcation Guides and Senior Intelligence Officers should have to approve derivative classifaction. Also, the numbers (Security Clearances) are misleading because nearly every one in the military has a Secret clearance. (Even the Chaplians)

By: Tiu Sat, 15 Oct 2011 01:51:16 +0000 Let’s face it, it’s so nutty it’s gotta be kept secret. _of_the_Jews_to_the_Holy_Land

By: Thoth Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:41:59 +0000 Those advocating declassification always sound so eager to go all Woodward and Bernstein on the agencies in question. Government bureaucrats have no incentive to cooperate.

By: DisgustedReader Sat, 15 Oct 2011 00:37:42 +0000 Agent Scully: “What dark work goes on inside their impossible machines… cloaked from us by invisible forces? If they know our secrets, why can’t we know theirs?”

Cigarette Smoking Man: “You damn me for my secrets, but you’re afraid to speak the truth.” (X-Files)