Better thinkers and writers than I have tackled Bill Keller’s letter to the public justifying his blithe release of security secrets. One thing he wrote, though, stuck in my mind, and I haven’t read anyone yet who has commented on this point:
It’s not our job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal or effective, but the story cites strong arguments from proponents that this is the case. While some experts familiar with the program have doubts about its legality, which has never been tested in the courts, and while some bank officials worry that a temporary program has taken on an air of permanence, we cited considerable evidence that the program helps catch and prosecute financers of terror, and we have not identified any serious abuses of privacy so far. A reasonable person, informed about this program, might well decide to applaud it. That said, we hesitate to preempt the role of legislators and courts, and ultimately the electorate, which cannot consider a program if they don’t know about it. [Emphasis mine.]
Is it possible that Bill Keller is unaware that we’re a representative Democracy, not a direct Democracy? That is, under our system of government as envisioned by the Founders, we do not function as a Townhall where every single one of us gets to weigh in on each government initiative. The fact that our representatives — Congress — got to hear about and pass on this program is sufficient. There is no reason to tell us about a top secret, legal, program to “follow the money” and, given the security concerns, every reason not to tell us about it.