The Curse of Secrets

There is only one sin, bad behavior, bad attitude, or whatever you may choose to call it that is more debilitating than secrets, but “secrets” are a close second.

Recently a young man (at my age, I can call him that) released information to the national media.  What he released were secrets.  Secret spying efforts of the federal government on our own citizens were released to the American public.

The Internal Revenue Service secretly monitored and focused on specific entities with similar political views, apparently with an intent to slow their impact on the presidential race last year.

The federal government secretly monitored emails of members of the national media.

The US Department of State secretly made decisions about not defending our Ambassador in Benghazi, resulting his murder.

In the State of Utah two top ranking members of the Attorney General’s Office secretly dealt with indicted businessmen, for financial favor, to assist their personal life styles and campaign efforts.

Likewise, in Utah, a private businessman is targeted by a federal agency.  When he sought to defend himself the government secretly sought to bankrupt him and his family.  The courts were complicit in its support of restraining the man’s free speech demanding he comply with government secrecy.

The Utah Department Health, inclusive of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, acted secretly over the years to the benefit of one private business over another.  When asked about their conduct they used the Attorney General’s Office to dissuade public inquiry into the secrets. Evidence exists that perhaps both state-elected and local-elected officials acted in secret complicity to drive a private business into bankruptcy.

Neighbors secretly gossip among themselves about differences of opinion with other neighbors.

Families are fraught secrets that are discussed with each member…except the family member about whom the secret is being shared.

Secrets are at the center of our lives.  Generally, those secrets create animosity and confusion.

Ultimately what inevitably happens is that people forget who started the secret.  The guilty party (and there always is one) is the last person blamed for some egregious act.

I have a question.  What does the secrecy achieve?  Why was it necessary for the government to act in secret about their surveillance of American citizens?  Is anyone really naive enough to believe that real terrorists aren’t being extraordinarily careful about how they trade information?  I don’t believe so.  Serious terrorists, with the resources to cause real damage, are not going to be using standard phone systems and the internet protocols to communicate.  Amateurs maybe, but not the sophisticated.

So, again, why was it necessary to SECRETLY monitor phone, email, reporters, and me?

All the secrecy did was piss us all off when it was discovered.  Now, I am not suggesting it is OK to monitor private citizens.  But there is absolutely no justification for secrecy.  Tell the folks what is going on and they will agree or disagree.

In business operations, one of the fundamental principal of change is to engage everyone effected by the change.  It is simply more effectively administered when done in the open.  Now, if that principle works, where profits are at stake, it is logical it could and would work for governments, neighbors, and families.

Don’t misinterpret what I am saying.  There are legitimate matters of privacy.  Those matters generally involve the person about whom the private issue concerns.  Privacy is usually inclusive.  Secrecy is generally exclusive of the person effected.

Government’s particularly, and people generally, ought to be far less secretive.  When we talk of open government, we should likewise be talking in open.  Though all people may not have their specific interest pandered to in such an environment they will know that their interests was not simply disregarded.

This is not a national issue!  It is a very personal issue!  It is a personal issue, that if applied honestly would affect all national issues in profound positive ways.



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