Code Name: Sunshine

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William Arkin, who until last month was a military affairs columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is coming out with a new book entitled Code Names, which is claiming to reveal the names and other details of 3,000 ongoing secret government intelligence operations. The Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy News calls it "perhaps the most concentrated act of defiance of official secrecy policies since Howard Morland wrote about 'The H Bomb Secret' in The Progressive in 1979, drawing a government injunction to block publication." From the book's website:

In a perfect world, all of this secrecy would be to protect legitimate secrets from prying foreign eyes. But […]Arkin learned that while most genuine secrets remain secret, other activities labeled as secret are either questionable or remain perfectly in the open. The sheer volume and complexity of these operations ensures that the most politically important remain unreported by the press and shielded from the scrutiny of the American electorate. […]

But Arkin knows where to draw the line. The information in his book will not jeopardize individuals or operations.

I wrote about the Bush Administration's dramatic ramping-up of secrecy in the August issue.

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  1. But Arkin knows where to draw the line. The information in his book will not jeopardize individuals or operations.

    Well, thank goodness we have a former newspaper columnist who can make these important national security decisions for us all!

  2. I trust a newspaper columnist to be more objective about the importance of these various operations than the American intelligence community which is literally still arguing that such things as operational plans from World War I and the investigative paperwork related to the Presidential pardon of Marcus Garvey in 1927 must be kept classified.

  3. This book probably has more to do with drawing attention to the author, William Arkin, than it has to do with revealing secret intelligence operations. If this stuff is really that secret, how did he learn about it?

    It reminds me of a comment Andrew Tobias made about potential insider trading information. He said that if you’ve heard about, then it probably isn’t insider information.

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