WikiLeaks, Secrets, and Reality

The choice is between a world in which officials can share information and carry out reasoned debates with one another and a world in which nothing can be written down.

UCLA’s Mark Kleiman, hardly a knee-jerk reactionary, on WikiLeaks:

The notion that governments should have no secrets sounds attractive until you run the game back one step: if there can’t be any secrets, then you can’t write down anything you don’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times. That’s a sure formula for making executive-branch deliberations as content-free as Congressional debates.

The choice is not between a world with secrets and a world in which all the citizens know whatever the government knows. The choice is between a world in which officials can share information and carry out reasoned debates with one another and a world in which nothing can be written down. Really, that’s a not a hard choice.

Preach it, brother.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Quick Takes, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] not such a good idea. We do live in an imperfect world, after all. Mark Kleiman elaborates (via James Joyner): The notion that governments should have no secrets sounds attractive until you run the game back […]

  2. Matt says:

    So, if nothing can be written down, that includes laws, right? If that’s the case, then I am for it.

  3. Grackle says:

    Matt, there’s already a magical land where all your dreams came true.  It’s called Somalia.