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Saturday, June 08, 2013

Whistleblowers, secrets and the public’s right to the truth

One may call it despotic or guarded, paranoid or protective, but the reality of keeping a firm lid on the true nature of the way a government operates disempowers the people that government supposedly represents. Hiding data from the people with a wall of secrecy that keeps them from making an informed decisions about a policy, a candidate or a war, is short-sighted and can be assumed to serve only the needs of the withholders, with little regard for the public that elected them.

While it is certainly true that the unwarranted domestic spying activities of the Bush administration were a ruthless broadside to the Constitution, it forced Congress into codifying a legal basis for what government agencies, like the NSA, determined were necessary actions to protect our country. But the DNA of our Republic is not designed to hide so much classified information from so many for so long.

Now, it is finally appearing, more than ten years after 9/11 and the subsequent, draconian legislation known as the Patriot Act, that the unwieldy bladder of secrecy our federal government created has had its fill and is beginning to spring leaks. This is not the light air of happy balloons floating innocuously above the Potomac. This is the Hindenburg, a gas bag in a lightning storm, just waiting for the right spark to explode its cache of secret programs and spill it all onto the ground, below. Oh, the humanity.

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