Thursday, April 29, 2010

Secrecy - the first refuge of incompetents

What is Stephen Harper covering up when he cites National Security and the security of the "troops" as reasons for not disclosing relevant information regarding transfer and subsequent torture of Afghan detainees?

Now, if that's not enough to make a person lose their last meal...

Scott Horton, referring to the subpoena of a NY Times reporter and author who disclosed CIA incompetents (and incompetence) in dealing with Iran refers to a the report of the Commission on Government Security, the Committee on Government Operations of the [U.S.] House of Representatives, 1960 Report and the place of secrecy in a democracy:
"Secrecy—the first refuge of incompetents—must be at a bare minimum in a democratic society, for a fully informed public is the basis of self-government. Those elected or appointed to positions of executive authority must recognize that government, in a democracy, cannot be wiser than the people."
 Horton goes on to say that
"... But mistakes that are kept secret are more likely to be repeated, and those who commit them are more likely to advance to positions in which they can do more costly damage. ...[T]he public’s security was in this case plainly served by disclosure, and the prosecution that is apparently being mounted is another gallant defense of the government’s right to keep its inept conduct secret not from foreign enemies but from the American public. Such steps make us dumber, weaker, and less safe."
Same goes here. Incompetents in high places is not a recipe for success.

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