Dissent: Don’t Keep Threats Hidden

The staff is right to wish for more specific information about the possible nature of future attacks and ways in which we could guard against them. But if such information were available, the administration would surely disclose it.

Given that we have criticized the Bush administration for discouraging media organizations from broadcasting Osama bin Laden’s speeches, we would expect the staff to advocate the open disclosure of information about national security. We can’t help but feel that if Ashcroft had chosen not to inform the public and this week’s terrorist threat had later emerged through independent reports, the Bush administration would have been subject to vociferous criticism on this page and elsewhere. By disseminating credible information about actual threats—even if that information is regrettably lacking in detail—the government can at least encourage extra vigilance and potentially discourage terrorists from carrying out their plans.

The American people are intelligent and mature enough to be told the truth. We applaud Ashcroft for telling it.

—David M. DeBartolo ’03, Brian J. Parno ’03,

Stephen E. Sachs ’02, Paul C. Schultz ’03, and Jason L. Steorts ’03