Photo lifted from Slate Magazine
Cheney and the National Security Secrets Fraud
By Scott Horton
Harper's, June 26, 2007
Aristotle, writing in his Politics, spends a good bit of papyrus on the question of tyranny. What exactly makes a leader a tyrant, he asks. And right at the core of that discussion, he comes to the role of secrets. In a state which has degenerated into tyranny, he writes, the man who is vested with the public’s affairs craves secrecy in all things, whereas he demands that those in private life have no secrets from him – he unleashes his spies and he cultivates informants so that the normal citizen has no privacy in his life at all. But, Aristotle says, in a state governed by concepts of justice, it must be exactly the opposite: those who hold the reins of power must be made to account to the citizens for what they do; conversely, the privacy of the citizenry must be protected from the unreasonable intrusion of the state. The American Founding Fathers didn’t agree with Aristotle about everything, but on this point there was a full buy-in.
Nothing is quite so revealing of the tyrannical attitudes of Dick Cheney as his views on secrecy. Put simply, for Cheney, the public office holder, everything he does must be kept secret from the people. But on the other hand, the ordinary people are entitled to no secrets from him: he can engage in unwarranted wiretapping and surveillance to his heart’s content. And no matter that it’s a violation of federal criminal statutes. Why the office of the Vice President, he thinks, is above the law.
Read the full article here.