Tag Archives: Government

Government Secrecy: Bad or Bad?

Greenwald uses a quote from a Washington Post article claiming (in the context of No Place to Hide) that “much of our government’s business [is] so large, so unwieldy, that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work”. By Google searching the quote, I was readily able to locate the original source, an article entitled “A hidden world, growing beyond control”, at the very first link.

In Greenwald’s context, the quote supports the claim that too much government business is “conducted in secret”. In the original source, Greenwald interestingly chose to leave out a few words when he quoted this evidence (found in the first paragraph). The original source says that the government’s business is “so large, so unwieldy, and so secretive”. Greenwald may have done this in order to hide the fact that the quote as a whole is not about government being conducted in secrecy, but it is merely a portion of the claim being made in the original piece. Leaving that part out creates the illusion that the entire quote is about government secrecy. The Washington Post article does not, in fact, talk about individual privacy being an issue whatsoever. It instead focuses on the claim that the government and its individual departments and agencies are growing so much that it is becoming counterproductive. Priest and Arkin, authors of the Post article, claim that this is occurring because the government is too secretive. If it was more transparent, its abundant wastefulness would be exposed, and it could be made more efficient. It does not claim that the NSA is too invasive; it claims that it collects unnecessarily copious amounts information that clog the inlet that useful information comes through. It claims “secrecy within the intelligence world hampers effectiveness”.

The evidence is reliable because its from a credible news source like the Washington Post. The quote is misleading in the Greenwald piece, however, because it leads the reader to believe that the Washington Post supports Greenwald’s claim. This is not necessarily true because the Washington Post never addresses that claim and goes about the issue of government secrecy in an entirely different direction. Therefore, the quote’s reliability is compromised because Greenwald evidently manipulates it to fit his claim, which is not the purpose it was originally intended to serve.

So 2010…

https://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Calls-for-US-to-Drop.html

WikiLeaks article
WikiLeaks article

 

Supporters of WikiLeaks and Assange, alike, should find hope in this article. There is a unnamed Department of Justice official who believes that Julian may get away with his publications to WikiLeaks. There should only be a glimmer of hope, however, because this information is coming from an anonymous source that may or may not have correct statements. Even if this source was correct, this information “only deals with a small part of the grand jury investigation, [which] has been primarily concerned with trying to prove somehow that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were involved in a conspiracy with their sources”. Still, Assange escaping peril would be a small victory for him and  his supporters.

This type of post, another post like this, or a leak would behave differently today than the Collateral Murder video that Assange unveiled in 2010 did. WikiLeaks hit its prime a few years after it was founded, so in  2010, the information was still relatively fresh and the leaks were still exciting. The government still had hope that they could put an end to Assange’s antics then, but now they are realizing that it might be harder than they originally thought to put an end to it. Also, people are much more involved in sharing information now than they were four years ago. With more and more people taking up social media, links are becoming easier to share and reach more people; consequently, more people are sharing them.

These factors contribute to WikiLeaks not being as effective as it was just a short period ago. The leaks aren’t being challenged as much by the government and they’re in-your-face, which doesn’t create the same impression on a person as it did when they were secretive. The leaks have just become plain and ordinary to people. If the same Collateral Murder video were to leak today, it would not  be as effective. Even with the same message and that message possibly reaching more people, the leaks have become so commonplace that the effect on our culture has been corked.