Sunday, February 05, 2012

Confused about the Bay of Pigs

Classic. Just...classic. From Unredacted--great blog of the National Security Archive--the CIA argues that release of the last volume of its internal history of the Bay of Pigs would "confuse" people and so it should remain secret.

The idea that scholars would come to "erroneous" conclusions is hardly an argument at all. Historians and political scientists disagree on just about everything, and more primary documents will more likely lead to useful debate rather than some unified view the CIA would consider "distorted." Further, given how much debate there still is about the Bay of Pigs, it is hard to imagine what kind of bombshell remains that would alter that debate very much.

Either way, it's insulting. The public has a right to know (and even a right to be confused!). Even if the CIA historians are discredited for this case, then that is an important part of history as well.


Jackie M. Briski 8:33 AM  

I actually think it's kind of funny that they're concerned about the CIA Historians being discredited, instead of the government officials that might or might not have ordered the Agency to conduct operations that would confuse the public even if they weren't in draft form. :)

RAJ 3:36 PM  

I like the idea of a public right to be confused-- which would be a more realistic response to most historical situations...

Greg Weeks 7:25 AM  

Historical confusion is the norm. Just look at how people like Abraham Lincoln are invoked by everybody.

Phil 4:36 PM  

Am I correct in reading their defense as "We'd like not to release this document because it's such ridiculously bad history that it will make everyone dumber for having read it"?

They have to cough it up, of course, but I suppose it's nice of them to apologize beforehand, for once.

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