February 9, 2006

IT GOT HERE A WHILE AGO:

Like it or not, secret surveillance is here to stay: The cold war resulted in a permanent expansion of intelligence gathering. (Jeffrey Shaffer, 2/10/06, CS Monitor)

After World War I, President Woodrow Wilson advocated a new world order of international relations governed by "open covenants, openly arrived at." No more diplomatic subterfuge or secret pacts that could plunge nations into horrific conflicts. It was a great idea that never panned out. Wilson would surely be stunned to learn that by the end of the 20th century the US government was running more than a dozen agencies engaged in a wide range of surveillance operations.

Anyone who wants a quick overview of how we got to this point can find plenty of firsthand accounts, and the one I recommend is a memoir by the late CIA director Richard Helms titled, "A Look Over My Shoulder." In an understated, dispassionate tone, Helms describes the onset of cold-war relations between America and the Soviet Union that resulted in a massive, permanent expansion of intelligence-gathering procedures.


Huh? If our enemies, like al Qaeda, functioned in the open there'd be no clandestine surveillance. The notion that they guy who engineered the Red Scare and Palmer Raids and passed a sedition act would be surprised at our rather meager Islamicist countermeasures is ludicrous.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 6:29 PM
Comments

What the--? How does Wilson's call for transparent diplomacy have anything whatsoever to do with covert surveillance?

Posted by: Timothy at February 9, 2006 6:47 PM

This can be summed up by the phrase "Wishing doesn't make it so."

Posted by: Mikey at February 10, 2006 7:56 AM
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