Newsweek's Evan Thomas: "You cannot have an open society and an effective spy service"May 17, 2006 11:47 AM EDT ››› BEN FISHEL
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On the May 14 edition of Inside Washington, a weekly news program on ABC's Washington, D.C., affiliate WJLA, Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas claimed that when Americans are "under threat, we sort of make this pact" with the government allowing it to "[g]o off and be secret and do dirty things" without "tell[ing] us about it." Thomas also stated that the basic problem was that "[y]ou cannot have an open society and an effective spy service." Thomas's comments were prompted by a question posited by host Gordon Peterson, who asked whether the Bush administration is "operating within the laws of the country," presumably referring to reports about the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance program and its collection of millions of Americans' phone records.
From the May 14 edition of WJLA's Inside Washington:
PETERSON: Evan, is the Bush administration operating within the laws of our country?
THOMAS: The laws are pretty murky. I mean, the basic problem is, here, open societies are not great at running spy services. There's just a conflict there. And when we're under threat, we sort of make this pact, you know: "Go off and be secret and do dirty things. Don't tell us about it." But sooner or later, we find out that they're doing those things, and then we have this kind of national moment of -- that we're never going to be able to resolve. We are never going to be able to resolve it. You cannot have an open society and an effective spy service.