• Show Notes

Dear Reader,

In the world of national security and intelligence, there is a longtime tension in open, democratic societies. It is the tension between classification and transparency. It is the conflict between two vital American institutions – the intelligence community (IC) and the free press. Both help keep us free, but both are also fallible and sometimes fall down on the job. The IC is sometimes wrong, the press is sometimes gullible, and the general public does not necessarily know what to believe.

Here’s how it often goes down on some matter of national security. The government makes a claim about some threat. And the government says, trust me. The media says, give us proof. The government says, we can’t burn sources and methods. The media says, yeah, we’ve heard this BS before. And so round and round we go.

Recent events in Ukraine and the U.S. government’s dissemination of rapidly-declassified intelligence offer a case study in this dynamic.