New Gag Order on Spies Will Make Us Less Safe
Jack Shafer: We need more debate on policies, not insular decision-making
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2014 1:43 PM CDT
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

(Newser) – The nation's intelligence chief has issued a new directive that severely clamps down on his underlings' ability to talk to reporters, reports the Federation of American Scientists. James Clapper's intent with Directive 119 is to eliminate leaks of classified information and thus make the country safer. Instead, this bone-headed directive—which makes even the discussion of non-classified information off-limits—will do just the opposite, writes Jack Shafer at Reuters.

One big problem is that the move "increases the insularity of the national security state," and insularity can be a dangerous thing. Instead of healthy debates about national security, we get an ever-shrinking circle of yes-men decision-makers. "One excessively ingrown presidential administration, as you may recall, acted on its excessively ingrown intelligence information and analysis to invade a foreign land to capture diabolical biological and chemical weapons that didn’t exist," writes Shafer. If only we had "more unauthorized leaks to neutralize all the authorized leaks of bogus information to gullible reporters," we might have saved ourselves from a war. Click for his full column, which draws from lessons offered in the new book Secrets and Leaks by Rahul Sagar.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Apr 22, 2014 9:44 PM CDT
First, i'd love to see Russia doublecross Snowjob and turn him over to the U.S. for arrest. Then, let's talk security...
Apr 22, 2014 8:05 PM CDT
When a country starts classifying everything they don't want debated their fundamental freedoms will disappear. I was an intel officer for awhile and we are in trouble. The president can order executions without accountability and with his AG opinion last year that went without challenge by the congress, the president can order those executions on American soil without due process. Most of the gov't; federal, state, and local can now act with complete impunity under these directives, Executive Orders, AG opinions, the Patriot Act and the secret FISA court. But Americans are more concerned with their gov't freebies than their deteriorating constitutional liberties and protections.
Apr 22, 2014 4:57 PM CDT
And Shafer STILL can't let this go. Idiot. He conveniently ignores the fact that intelligence agencies in many nations confirmed what was said. Idiot squared.