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  1. Politicians have a pretty good idea whether or not what they are doing is appropriate: if they have expertise in nothing else, politicians certainly have expertise in detecting opportunities to conduct the public business for their personal advantage. When an official hides information, it is almost never for national security reasons, almost always to conceal behavior that the official knows full well was inappropriate. In a democracy, the public interest is rarely served by concealing the behavior or true reasons behind the behavior of officials. There are of course exceptions, perhaps the main one being a situation where a weak state under the threat of attack defends itself by pretending to be more powerful than it is. For a secure state, however, “national security” is a claim designed to protect the guilty far more often than to protect the public. Lack of transparency by officials constitutes prima fascie evidence of guilt.

    Washington officials must be very frightened of the American people.

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