All in National Security

Democracy dies in daylight

By TATIANA PROPHET

Democracy dies in darkness. And wars begin in the light of day.

The first sentence is the new motto of the Washington Post. The second, a description of what happened in 2002 when the media relied on anonymous sources in or allied with the U.S. government.

"In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium," wrote Judith Miller and Michael Gordon on September 8, 2002. "American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.”