Stephen Walt points out how scaremongering about terrorism has become the easiest way for the government to accrue more secretive power, which is the kind they like best because it is unchecked.
This situation gives those in power an obvious incentive to inflate threats. When no significant dangers are apparent, they will conjure them up; when real dangers do emerge, they will blow them out of all proportion. And having assembled a vast clandestine intelligence apparatus to go trolling for threats in every conceivable location, they can quell skeptics with that familiar trump card: “Ah, but if you knew what I know, you’d agree with me.”
We saw an example of this in how congressman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and a member of the House Intelligence Committee has been lambasting Glenn Greenwald for being the main conduit for the NSA revelations, saying that he has no idea what he is talking about.
In this interview with Howard Kurtz where a clip of Rogers making that argument was shown, Greenwald rightly points out that if Rogers thinks so, then it is precisely for that reason that we need to have this information public. The government has come to think that not only facts but even policies should be known only to a few select people.
We have to stop accepting the argument “Trust us. We know what is best for you.”