Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Steve Clemons on the bin Laden Photo Ban

Many American intelligence officials began to think some years ago that he was dead already. A senior FBI agent once asked me, "you don't really believe he is still alive do you?"

If that is what high level Americans in the terror-tracking business thought, what does President Obama think that those through the Arab world will think.

Not releasing a photo of some sort furthers a bad trend of governments -- that the public doesn't have a right to know, that governments are better stewards of the truth and of basic information than the public. It is undemocratic and stiflingly paternalistic.

Wikileaks was a market reaction to the massive expansion of official secrecy not just in the US but elsewhere in the world.

President Obama's decision to hold back the bin Laden photo/s only aggravates this trend.