Friday, June 22, 2007

Secrets And Lies

The CIA is going to declassify information about some of their notorious illegal activities from the 50's through the 70's. Washington wags often say that there is a fine line between the public's right to know and national security.


Other than weapons technology that hasn't been mastered by rogue nations, most of what is in the files that we don't want out is not out because of embarrassment, not security. If we stuck a camera up a spy's skirt to trap a Soviet official engaging in adultery in 1955, the parties involved are likely dead or near to it. We just don't want the world and more importantly the American people to know the things that we do because they might say no.

This is a republican democracy right? If the american people think the skirt camera is a bad idea, perhaps before fifty years pass, they through their representatives get a chance to hear about these things.

What I am interested in is the coup in Iran in 1953 that we supported. Most Americans don't know the history of us helping to put the Shah in place. Instead, we sit around puzzled wondering why the mean people hate us, with no context or clue. Would our Iran policy be any different if people knew our share of the responsibility of what happened Iran?

Perhaps, or perhaps not. But what genuine security need do we have to block information about a coup from over fifty years ago?