Can we (should we) trust anyone in the government with the ability to keep secrets from the citizens?
No. Just, no.
Restricting ourselves just to the current administration, for a moment, we know that they have classified records of embarassing conversations to prevent them leaking to the press. It’s common knowledge now that there’s a specific server platform within the White House network where things like the details of the raid on bin Laden (why is that always the example journalists use?) are stored and that the actual transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky is stored there.
Hell, we know that they’re lying about having information about an “immediate threat” that required them to assasinate Soleimani. And that lie broke down in less than 24 hours.
And it’s not just Trump.
Last week’s non-revelations that the past three administrations have consistently lied about the status of their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq weren’t really a surprise, were they?
They lied to start those wars; it’s not surprising that they lied about their progress.
This needs to stop.
Personally, I’d go along with the “Sneakers” solution for government: no more secrets at all. The bastards just can’t be trusted.
That’s a pretty extreme position, I realize.
More doable would be to start with the splitting of the Executive branch I proposed in “Failed Constitution Check: Executive Oversight” (where the second-place finisher in the Presidential election would take over as the head of Executive branch oversight) and extend it by making it illegal for any Executive officer or staff member (or whatever phrase means “all of them” in this case) to withold any information from Executive oversight.
Better still, add a requirement that Oversight be given read-only (and realtime) access to all Executive branch data.
No more secrets.
At the very least that would require the largest opposition party be complicit in any secret, which would go a long way in limiting what kind of shennanigans they’d be able to get up to,