In Defense Of Secrets

Mark Kleiman presents the dilemma:

The notion that governments should have no secrets sounds attractive until you run the game back one step: if there can’t be any secrets, then you can’t write down anything you don’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times. That’s a sure formula for making executive-branch deliberations as content-free as Congressional debates.

The choice is not between a world with secrets and a world in which all the citizens know whatever the government knows. The choice is between a world in which officials can share information and carry out reasoned debates with one another and a world in which nothing can be written down. Really, that’s a not a hard choice.

But is it still, in any realistic sense, a choice? Haven't governments lost the same amount of privacy as, say, Brett Favre or Mel Gibson? And for the same technological reasons? Remember also: without the web and digital photography, we still would not know what the Bush-Cheney torture program really meant.