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Letter to the editor: Media has loose lips

Monday, April 8, 2013 - 8:40 am

On March 27, the ABC-TV Nightly News broadcast information concerning the new head of the CIA clandestine unit.

ABC-TV gave the gender of the person, age range and a city where the person served overseas. Although this information can be acquired by foreign intelligence agencies, we should not be helping them identify our intelligence personnel.

During World War II, we safeguarded information which could have benefited the enemy and jeopardized the well-being of our military and civilian government personnel. We operated on a “need-to-know basis.” A phrase describing the secretiveness of information was “loose lips sink ships.” Since World War II the media has had increasing access to our military planning and operations in the cause of transparency and in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, and government agencies have been too willing to provide information to reporters and others. The media does not seem able or inclined to refrain from disclosing sensitive information which could hurt this country. It seems all they care about is the “scoop.”

Our federal government agencies and the media have to do a better job of not disclosing information which could place people and operations in harm’s way.

Donald A. Moskowitz

Londonderry, N.H.