Obama administration presses for secrecy

The spy stuff just keeps coming today:

The Obama administration objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security and benefit al-Qaeda’s recruitment efforts.

In an affidavit, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta defended the classification of records describing the contents of the 92 videotapes, their destruction by the CIA in 2005 and what he called “sensitive operational information” about the interrogations.

The forced disclosure of such material to the American Civil Liberties Union “could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security by informing our enemies of what we knew about them, and when, and in some instances, how we obtained the intelligence we possessed,” Panetta argued.

It’s hard to have much of an opinion about this; anyone against keeping the records classified is at a disadvantage by not knowing what is in them.  Making matters more complicated, many who would be inclined to trust the current administration would have to conceded that it was okay for the previous administration to classify the documents.  It’s the same behavior in both cases.

2 responses to “Obama administration presses for secrecy


    The reason that the documents and the Center should both be open is to reinforce the lesson that secrecy is impossible.

    Some of the enciphered transmissions of the German military from World War II remain unreveled because time has made them irrelevant. In time, the secrets of Guantanamo will become irrelevant. That time might be measured in units of “keynes.” 1 Keynes = the long term within which we all will be dead.

    As long as we are alive, however, we must realize that we all share the front page of the New York Times. We all appear on CNN Headline News. Our allocated Fame might come as 60 shots 15 seconds long — and with broadband, that’s a lot of information.

    Those who expect secrecy are like medieval barons, walled in their castles, while the guys outside roll up the cannons.

  2. Pingback: Week in Public Organizations, 15Jun2009 « PublicOrgTheory

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