Friday, April 16, 2010

The CIA tapes: Destruction Was a Good Thing

The usual suspects are worked up regarding a New York Times report that former CIA director Porter Goss approved of destroying interrogation video tapes. All this newly released document shows is that Goss exercised good judgment. Since the CIA is apparently unable to prevent secret information from leaking to press organizations devoted to undermining U.S. intelligence operations, the more sensitive information destroyed before it can be revealed the better. 

What we should be worried about regarding the CIA tapes is the fact that we even know about their existence in the first place. There's no good reason the public should know about details regarding secret interrogations, and no reason that the details of internal CIA decision making, such as whether or not the director approved a particular measure, should be open knowledge. As I've argued repeatedly here, it appears that many people simply don't have a clue about the importance of secrecy to secret operations. Questions of misconduct about secret intelligence operations should be handled without exposing them to the public.  What's the point of even having secrecy classifications, if any idiot with a Freedom of Information request can extract internal documents regarding the operations of an intelligence organization that requires secrecy for many of its missions? 


  1. What's the point of even having a democracy, if the government can secretly do whatever illegal things it wants?

  2. What's the point of having secret intelligence operations if you can't keep them secret?

  3. Exactly. There is no point, so let's get rid of them.

  4. Intelligence operations are critical to U.S. national security and to decisions that we have to make on how to pursue our interests. Since we obvious can't abandon them, we should be working on doing a better job of keeping secret matters secret.

    Misconduct can still be investigated and dealt with without exposing it to the public.