Thoughts on Secrecy

Published: Jun 15, 2013
Thoughts on Secrecy
Image: Corbis

The men of the FBI, with hardly an exception, were proud of their insularity, of having sprung from the grass roots. They were therefore whisky-drinkers, with beer for light refreshment. By contrast, CIA men flaunted cosmopolitan postures. They would discuss absinthe and serve Burgundy at room temperature.
Kim Philby

Most of the time, the war against leaks is much more about a presidential quest for control— over information, over his own White House, over the government—than it is about real damage the leak has caused.
Jonathan Bernstein

A talebearer revealeth secrets: But he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
Proverbs 11:13

O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
Sun Tzu

One shudders to imagine the mischief that some budding J Edgar Hoover, now playing Call of Duty on his iPad after school, might one day make with the assets of the [NSA’s] Utah Data Center.
Hendrik Hertzberg

There are more leaks here than in the men’s room at Anheuser-Busch.
Barry Goldwater

What the press never does say is who the leaker is and why he wants the story leaked. Yet, more often than not, this is the more important story: What policy wins if the one being disclosed loses?
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Asking journalists to denounce leaks because of their deleterious effects on the functioning of government is as hopeless as asking an airline to denounce jet fuel because of its impact on the environment.
Benjamin Wittes

(This story appears in the 28 June, 2013 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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