In his Senate hearings today, General Hayden - he's Bush's nominee to head the CIA, in case you haven't been keeping up with the circus that is Washington - said something today that I thought was interesting. He said that the CIA needs to get out of the public eye and back into the business of learning secrets. Not a direct quote, but close enough to his gist for government work.
It made me laugh. That secrets thing always does.
Now, I know that in what passes for the real world, the gathering of things people and governments try to keep secret and then keeping them secret is part of the cat-and-mouse game that is the intelligence establishment.
I know that.
But it just sounds so childish.
"I know something you don't know! Neener, neener, neener."
And it isn't just the government that does it. It's all those secret societies. The Masons. Skull and Bones. All those top businessmen and government boys who gather at the Bohemian Grove in northern California and do whatever they do every year. It's religions, too, some of them. The Mormons act like the world would come to a screeching halt if someone told what goes on in their temples. Never mind that anyone who wants to know can find out on the internet. It's even some businesses. I used to work for a company that acted like the next week's work schedule was a state secret or something. They would never let anyone see it until the day before it began.
People seem to have the notion that knowing something no one else knows, or that very few other people know, makes them all special or something. They don't mind letting you know that they know something you don't. In fact, sometimes that seems to be the whole rationale for having secrets - so that they can brag about it. I think of it as the "if I told you, then I'd have to kill you" syndrome.
But, God forbid you let on that you don't care about their secrets. Or that you tell them you think they're acting like a five-year-old about the whole thing. Then they'll tell you that you're just jealous that you don't know what they know.
No. I'm not.
You all can go play with your secret decoder rings all you want. I'm going to go do something, oh, intelligent.