Secrets are among the most corrosive elements known to man. The longer secrets are kept, the more dangerous they become, because, once they are finally revealed, they not only lose all their value, but they beg a set of dangerous questions, like — why were they kept hidden for so long, from whom and for whose benefit?
Shared secrets are also very expensive, and their cost is measured in nothing less than shifts in power.
Most political secrets are shared by parties who are assumed also to have shared interests. But interests shift over time, and often one party’s interests may best be served by betraying the other party’s hidden actions, or simply by threatening to.
Take for example, the so-called “28 pages” of a Congressional staff investigation into what role Saudi Arabia might have played in the brace of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th, 2001. I say “so-called” for a picayune, but perhaps telling detail. The portions of the report which were only made public 2 months shy of 15 years after the 9/11 attacks, actually spread across 29 pages, a minute difference but perhaps indicative of how carefully they were selected for secrecy and for public publication this July.
But as long as were counting pages, a much more important correction must be made: roughly 3 pages of text were “redacted,” meaning 3 pages of investigators’ work and judgments remain hidden, remain suggestive of the answers to those 3 questions about “former secrets.”
The easiest answer is who was meant to be kept ignorant? You, me, the American people. Congresspeople could read the secret part of the report, but could neither take notes on what they contained, nor tell anyone anything about what they contained.
Best guesses as to the 2 harder questions? Why are they still hidden 15 years after the awful events of 9/11? Because someone is deeply ashamed of what was done or not done to scrutinize the actions of the state which supplied 15 of the 19 men who hi-jacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and seem to have tried to hit another Washington target, perhaps the White House, perhaps the US Capitol, and who killed well over 3000 people.
And whose interests are served by 26 pages hidden for almost 15 years, and 3 pages still secret today? The responsible parties who led or served the 2 main parties in silence: the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Investigative reporter Jason Leopold, has a sterling record of forcing secrets onto the public record. His sophisticated and dogged use of the law, The Freedom of Information Act, and his numerous off-the-record, or on-background only sources in government, particularly in the military and intelligence services has produced a series of blockbuster stories over the past decade for Al Jazeera America, Truthout.com, the Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and his present employer, Vice News. He’s done more than his share pursuing the secrets of the attacks on 9/11.