~ 3 July 2006 ~

President Carter can’t keep secrets

Former President Jimmy Carter has penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in which he laments the preponderance of secrecy within the U.S. government. Writes Carter:

The events in our nation today — war, civil rights violations, spiraling energy costs, campaign finance and lobbyist scandals — dictate the growing need and citizens’ desire for access to public documents. A poll conducted last year found that 70 percent of Americans are either somewhat or very concerned about government secrecy. This is understandable when the U.S. government uses at least 50 designations to restrict unclassified information and created 81 percent more “secrets” in 2005 than in 2000, according to the watchdog coalition OpenTheGovernment.org.

Count me as one of the 70 percent of Americans who is either somewhat or very concerned about government secrecy. In fact, I lean more toward the “very concerned” end of the scale. Where I differ with the former peanut planter from Plains is that I think we need more government secrecy — especially in the military realm. In an age where media such as the New York Times publish details of secret ongoing military defense operations, we need more responsible citizens who realize that the “general public” often includes the enemy.

The reason that there are 81 percent more secrets in 2005 than there were in 2000 is that we weren’t at war in 2000. President Carter seemingly wishes to throw his hat in the ring with the ever-present cornucopia of conspiracy theorists who think the government is out to get us more than the enemy. Secrets save lives, President Carter. Loose lips sink ships.

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