Sunday, November 18, 2007

Don'ctcha Love Conundra?

(Is conundra a word? Another conundrum!)

Here's a hed and caption from the online The New York Times: "U.S. Secretly Aids Pakistan in Guarding Nuclear Arms By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD With the future of Pakistan's leadership in doubt, debate is growing about whether a classified program has done enough."

Dear Gentle Reader(s), one trusts your attention immediately picked up on the logical problem--if this program is such a secret, what is it doing on the front page of The New York Times?

Someone who had knowledge of the program "leaked" the story to Sanger and Broad. Why? To foster debate? To let us know we're more "on top" of the situation in Pakistan than we'd previously known? To help Musharraf? To hurt him?

The article makes known the fact that the Times has known of the program for "...more than three years, based on interviews with a range of American officials and nuclear experts, some of whom were concerned that Pakistan’s arsenal remained vulnerable. The newspaper agreed to delay publication of the article after considering a request from the Bush administration, which argued that premature disclosure could hurt the effort to secure the weapons."

Since then elements of the program have been discussed in the Paki media, and the Administration has removed its objection to publication.

U.S. participation in this "protection" is good. It's good to know that someone, somewhere is watching the store.

So, the conundrum of the day: how far can the administration go to reassure the American public and still maintain a necessary level of secrecy when secrecy is needed in a particular situation?

Which of course, Dear Gentle Reader(s), begs the question, "Why does the public, in large part, distrust this administration?"


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