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Media Has Loose Lips

April 3, 2013 by

On March 27, 2013 the ABC-TV Nightly News broadcast information concerning the new head of the CIA clandestine unit.

ABC-TV gave the gender of the person, age range and a city where the person served overseas. Although this information can be acquired by foreign intelligence agencies, we should not be helping them identify our intelligence personnel.

During World War II we safeguarded information which could have benefited the enemy and jeopardized the well-being of our military and civilian government personnel. We operated on a “need to know basis.” A phrase describing the secretiveness of information was “loose lips sink ships.”

Since World War II the media has had increasing access to our military planning and operations in the cause of transparency and in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, and government agencies have been too willing to provide information to reporters and others. The media does not seem able or inclined to refrain from disclosing sensitive information which could hurt this country. It seems all they care about is the “scoop.”

Our federal government agencies and the media have to do a better job of not disclosing information which could place people and operations in harm’s way.

Donald Moskowitz

Former Navy LT & AG2

Londonderry, NH

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2 Responses to Media Has Loose Lips

  1. “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy. A people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives them.”

    James Madison

    • There are two sides to this story. Very often the government releases a cover story to protect the identities of people involved. How can we be sure this is not what happened here? By the way, I don’t think the press should be used in this way either. The government does have secrets it must keep — understood. But, please don’t feed us fabricated stories. Tell us the truth or tell us nothing.

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