By Coleen Rowley (with editing assistance from Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor/citizen based in Chicago)
These two words sum up well the op-ed I co-wrote with Bogdan Dzakovic before the ninth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks last year, a shortened version of which was published later in the Los Angeles Times under the title: “WikiLeaks and 9-11: What If?” There are so many reasons why and examples how secrecy hurts public safety; why it should be considered at best a necessary evil; why both civil rights advocates and security experts recognize that secrecy must be limited in both time and extent.
The truth about governmental secrecy is precisely contrary to the propaganda message of the last few years, especially since the advent of WikiLeaks and the Bush and Obama administrations’ renewed vigor in prosecuting government whistleblowers as a threat to security. We are constantly fed the Orwellian myth that governmental secrecy protects us. But the opposite is true: effective governance and public safety are simply not possible unless secrecy is kept to a bare minimum.