Thursday, April 24, 2008

JMO - A stupid question

I was listening to the news story about the Isreali bombing of the Syrian nuclear reactor being jointly developed with the North Korea. The facility was totally destroyed, although there is new evidence it's being rebuilt. And my question? If, as the news story suggests, everyone in the intelligence community knows the whole story, meaning our government, the Isreali government, the Syrian government, and on and on where all of those people who are privy to the information, why hide it?

I don't get it? If everyone knows and everyone knows that everyone else knows, it's no longer a secret except to the public. So why keep it from the public? It makes no sense to me that governments do this on the notion of secrecy when it's not a secret to anyone in any government who needs to know. So what's secret?

It's seems contradictory to me that government leaders claim security and secrecy when it's not true except to us, the very public who does really need to know the truth, the whole truth and not the politically marketable truth. And it's been like that for decades. Really.

I remember when I was in the service. I worked in a top secret organization in the USAF monitoring the Test Ban Treaty. We were told all about the clearances we had and what we could and couldn't tell folks about what we did. As I worked in the organization I discovered all the data and information we collected from out entire global network of sites was shared not only with other government agencies, obviously, but with some universities and other governments, like the (then) Soviet counterparts, as they did their data and information with us.

When a friend of mine went to India to establish a site we were installing with the help and approval of the Indian government, he discovered in conversations that the Indian governement had made a similar arrangement with the Soviet government. When he went to run the intial calibration tests, he noticed the equipment was also recording the signal from the Soviet site, which it turned out to be 50 miles down the road.

Well, after some discussion with the chiefs (generals), he got the approval to get an interpreter to meet with the Soviets to exchange technical information and to install a communication system where we could ensure the one site didn't interfer with the other site. In short, we combined our expertise to form a collaboration for the Indian government. While they were initially upset with this, they eventually came around to understand and eventually expelled the Soviets and later us, but not without leaving the sites intact.

So, why do the people in charge think it's all that important to keep secrets secret that everyone knows who's supposedly not supposed to know, like the alleged enemies of the US? If all of them know, who cares who else knows? And why isn't it just made public and be done, so everyone knows?

Yes, I know some things need to be kept secret, but really? Like torture? If all our enemies know our torture techniques, despite what the politicians say they don't or shouldn't, why keep it secret? Do they, the politicians, really believe it's really so secret? And surveillence techniques? Everyone can use their imagination, but really the former Soviets and other national technical experts have not only known the techniques but shared them with other nations, groups and even terrorists.

And we shouldn't forget our government doesn't develop or make the equipment, it's all made by companies under contract to the government. But they also use it to market to other buyers around the world along with much of it being stolen by employees, ex-employees, spies, etc. It makes no sense to hide when you're not really hiding. So why are we pretending everyone is hiding?

I'm open to understanding. I just don't get it. Or maybe it's a really stupid question. Or a really obvious one?

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