Inspired by the other thread. First, a historical question, who let the cat out of the bag in the first place? Or more precisely, when did the executive branch get the power to unilaterally declare information secret or classified? (Not to say that the other branches do not do the same, but not to the extent that this and previous administrations have.)The only mention of secrecy in the Constitution refers to the Congress. I know ‘national security’ went into high gear during WWII, and into overdrive during the Cold War, and now it appears to be slipping off the rails, but how did it get on the rails in the beginning?
And should the executive branch have that power? Should any branch have that power unilaterally? I understand the need for some information (mostly related to nuclear and other WMDs) to be withheld from the general public, but who should make that decision? I can see no compelling reason why it should lie solely with the president, or any one branch of government. Especially not just as a matter of expediency.
Similarly, where should the power to unclassify information reside? I have the same amount of faith in the executive branch ,i.e. none, with regards to keeping secrets as to making them.
A well-informed public is essential to the functioning of our democracy (or any other for that matter), and the decision to keep the public uninformed should rank as a matter of the highest importance and require approval from all three branches, (or at least two out of three, and I am not all that comfortable with that bit of compromise.)
So how high is this pie in the sky?