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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"Transparency in Government," New York Times style...

Finally, we are getting some information about that shifty C.I.A.!!

As a citizen of the U.S., I really would like to know much more about what my government is doing around the world. There is far too much secrecy surrounding government activities. I would particularly like to know the names of all government agents and I would like detailed reports on exactly what those agents are doing and why. I'm particularly interested to know what all the undercover agents are doing. They are, after all, the ones most likely to do something improper, illegal and/or immoral. Further, I want to know more about what the military is doing in Iraq. I want to know what troops are where, what they are doing today, when they are planning to be redeployed and what they will be doing over at least the next month, especially if they are planning to attack someone. I also want to know about any special forces operations or "surprise" operations that may be in the works. Finally, I want to know what the federal government is doing domestically. If they are investigating someone, I want to know who they are investigating, what they have found out so far and what they hope to accomplish with each investigation. If they are using informants, I think we are entitled to know just who those informants are and what they have told the federal government to date. If what those informants have provided is true, the informants have nothing to be ashamed of, and we have federal whistleblower and wrongful termination protections against any potential retribution. It is a timeworn tactic of the government secrecy apologists to raise against these modest suggestions the long threadbare spectre of "violence." Scary idea on its face, to be sure, but whistleblowers and federal witnesses are throughly protected from violence by federal law as well as the law of all fifty states! How much more legal protection could they possibly need? Another silly objection raised by the "my country do-or-die" crowd is the idea that such disclosure might compromise "ongoing federal investigations." These objections would be completely laughable if they weren't sometimes taken seriously by the well-intentioned but uninformed. As Benjamin Franklin himself said, "those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither." I'll go with Franklin on this one, folks.

Open the books, I say. I think the American public is entitled to this information. How can we, after all, evaluate our country's actions if we don't even know just what those actions are?

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