The Secret About Secrets

Here’s an interesting piece about how government leaks are treated then and now by Malcolm Gladwell. (Check it out  here)

Ellsberg’s behavior brings to mind what the sociologist Beryl Bellman refers to as “the paradox of secrecy.” When a secret is disclosed, Bellman observes, the holders of secrets say “Don’t tell anyone” even as they are, of course, telling someone: “The respondent is instructed to disregard the telling as an exposing and to treat the occasion as an exception to the rule of not talking secrets.” As Bellman explains, a secret isn’t invalidated by its disclosure; it’s defined by its disclosure. What makes a secret a secret is simply the set of operating instructions that accompany its movement from one person to the next.