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Politics // The Right Price
Larry Price

A Few Insights Into The ‘Secrecy Cult’

There is a group of people in the federal, military and government who must be laughing about National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden’s statement that he is not a traitor and not a hero, just an American. We all will have to wait to see what material he released and then decide what he really is.

When I was assigned to a Brigade level G-2 office in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, I was introduced to a group of people who were part of, for lack of a better word, the “secrecy cult.” This was a special group of people who handled sensitive information. Said another way, they were special and only talked to selected individuals.

Everything they handled was labeled OFFICIAL USE ONLY, NEED TO KNOW, CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (name specific), TOP SECRET, CRYPTO TOP SECRET, and some files were not even readable. They would arrive by special individuals with briefcases locked to their wrists, and the documents were immediately locked in a safe. The people who originated the documents would decide who needed to know the contents, and that was it.

Some of the files were so secret, like the CRYPTO TOP SECRET, they were coded before they even were transmitted, like in the case of nuclear material discussed by NATO forces as to the location of certain weapons and delivery systems they require.

If Snowden has confidence that he will be judged more fairly by the courts and people in Hong Kong, then he is not only in the disgruntled employee category, he also is a stupid employee. Furthermore, he may not know it, but his fate already has been decided. He may be an American, but a very lonely one.

Sending sensitive material over the Internet and via email is evidence that every military or governmental agency in the world can intercept if they want to. All of our enemies can and do collect vital information, including how to build nuclear weapons and bombs, and hack into the highest levels of government. It’s all part of game the secrecy cult plays every day of the year.

One consequence of Snowden’s disclosure is that it’s going to be a lot harder to get a TOP SECRET clearance in the immediate future.

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