Re-Secrets and Damn Lies

Can you keep a secret? It’s an important part of relationships…between friends, between lovers, between military commanders, between political operatives and in the spooky world of covert operations.

Secret identities, secret plans, secret lovers, secret peccadilloes. We all have our secrets. Revealing personal secrets can get you fired, divorced and ostracized.

Revealing state secrets can get you killed, get someone else killed, put you in jail and put national security in jeopardy. You know, like revealing the identity of a covert CIA operative, or passing secrets from the Pentagon to AIPAC.

Okay, once you’ve let a secret out can you take it back…re-secret it? As we all know, it’s not possible to put a cat back in the bag once it runs freely in the full light of day. But that’s our world. It’s also Valerie Plame’s world. But, apparently, it’s not the National Security State’s world. They believe in “re-secreting” and they’ve been doing it for the last five-plus years.

Our government is re-classifying previously de-classified documents. Okay, let’s try that again…they are taking files and documents, some nearly fifty-years old, and making them secret again. The National Security Agency’s historian, Matthew Aid, is perplexed by this…but he shouldn’t be. The NSA and the Administration blocked the disclosure of the truth behind the Gulf of Tonkin incident a couple months ago…and Aid had a front row seat for that “re-secreting.” The rub is that secrets often go hand in hand with lies. And the “re-secreting” he’s trying to expose threatens the damn lies that our government, our empire, is based on.

This is something we all know from our personal lives. Secrets are fed and sustained by a diet of lies. This is the problem with secrecy. When we see it in our partners, whether professionally or personally, we suspect the worst. When we uncover lies, secrets unravel. Then we look to our “democracy” and our representative leaders and find secrets…and have to suspect their lies are covering something they don’t want us to know. Something analogous to an illicit affair, some sort of embezzling…some abrogation of the implicit or explicit arrangement we’ve entered into.

But the stakes are much greater at the governmental level. We are not talking divorce. We are talking about the Constitution, perhaps tens of thousands of lives…perhaps billions of dollars.

Lies lead us into Vietnam. That’s what many historians have deduced and what came out of the declassification of key documents. Lies are suspected about the assassination of JFK…why else are there so many documents still classified all these years later? Lies swirl around the Reagan-Bush years. Whether it’s the October Surprise, of which there is a great deal of evidence now available, the Iran-Contra Affair, the illegal arming of Iraq…we can assume quite fairly that there are still things some of our leaders don’t want us to know. And Alberto Gonzales made a point of stopping the de-classification of documents from the Reagan-Bush and Bush-Qualye Administration as soon as he became White House Counsel back in 2001.

Although it seems to evade most of my media colleagues, the people involved in those two administrations…involved in the October Surprise, Iran-Contra, Iraqgate and more…just so happen to be in this current administration. Or their progeny. Or associates. Hell, they’re all on the same team…a team that has been operating since Allen Dulles formed the CIA. A core of power players that keeps on keeping on. It’s a shadow government that depends on, is predicated on…is fed and sustained by…secrecy. And they know how important it is to keep secrets. They know how important it is to cover their tracks.

Their problem is that history can be studied. Documents, no matter how old or seemingly innocuous, can be put into context. Eventually, a good historian will find patterns. That’s why the Gulf of Tonkin was such a problem…why it needed to be “re-secreted.” It’s illustrative of a pattern. A pattern of deception that leads to war. Of manipulated intelligence. Of a war for the sake of war. Eventually…of war profiteering and huge casualties and a country left in shambles.

The need to re-classify is fueled by the need to sustain today’s lies, to cover up the patterns of the past…patterns that show clearly what is happening now. This current drive to cover up tracks began in the final year of Clinton…but now that we’ve heard a Bushie say Bill is “like one of the family” will anyone argue with my claim that they are on the same team? But, according to today’s report “it accelerated” after 9-11. Of course it did, because we’ve been living a damn big lie ever since. There is one document–Operation Northwoods–that shows a pattern, a precedent. It’s far too late to re-secret that one. But the damn lies of our current situation cry out for more secrecy, plead for the obfuscation of the past.

Our personal worlds do not allow for the re-secreting of our sins. Their world, the one that bends reality and manipulates information in the service of their Machiavellian machinations, re-secrets potentially enlightening documents, shuts the door on the past and places possible patterns into the same vault that holds those still-secret documents about Lee Harvey Oswald, about Ronnie and Poppy…about how we got here.

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