Why Classified Secrets Should Be Kept From the Public

Gabriel Schoenfeld discusses why some classified information is best kept secret from the public.

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How can we know which cases fall into which categories?

In the case of the NSA wiretap story, even Democrats like Jane Harman [then on the House Intelligence Committee] said that publication damaged critical capabilities. Michael Hayden, head of the CIA [at the time], said the same thing.

Can we trust their claims? They were in charge of a program that may have violated the law.

It's tough, but we have to give deference to people like General Hayden, who was head of the NSA and later the CIA, who said that these disclosures hurt critical capabilities. In a time of war, the press has to think twice and thrice. 

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  • Corrected on 6/28/10: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Gabriel Schoenfeld's chess ranking. He is a master.