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Jun 22 2013

The danger of secret power

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.”

3 comments

  1. 1
    left0ver1under

    Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what your country did to you.

  2. 2
    MNb

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  3. 3
    Marcus Ranum

    Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    Classical victim-blaming written by a member of the powerful elite.

    If someone disempowers you for their own political ends, it is NOT YOUR FAULT that you did not adequately defend yourself. The action is 100% theirs and so is the blame.

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