MSNBC’s Up w/ Chris Hayes panel discussed yesterday the Obama administration’s secret drone war, details of which emerged last week in a new book.
In the first clip below, reporter Jamila Bey asked why Obama has been so secretive about the drone program, and why administration insiders (presumably) are now selectively leaking details about it. To make Obama look like a steely commander-in-chief? To spark an overdue public debate about Obama’s use of executive power and the proper limits of government secrecy? To highlight real and enduring national security threats? “In a democracy, we should always be concerned about things that are done in our name but without our consent,” said The Nation‘s John Nichols. “These are things we should be talking about as citizens.”
The question, then, is how do we get to a place where government secrecy goes as far as it legitimately needs to, but not so far that the public gets cut out of important discussions about the use of American power? As Hayes notes in the second clip below, while there is now less and less privacy for individuals, there is more and more privacy for governmental institutions. But as Rolling Stone‘s Michael Hastings, who recently wrote about drones for the magazine, explained, there is no incentive for our government to be more open, since it defaults to secrecy “for fear of embarrassment.” Watch: