Secrecy – President John F. Kennedy – April 27, 1961

“ Ladies and gentlemen, the very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society. And we are, as a people, inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.

But we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its fear of influence, on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice.

It is a system which has conscripted, vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military diplomatic intelligence, economic scientific, and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published, its mistakes are buried, notheadlined, its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned. No secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security. And the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack, as well as outright invasion.

That is why the Athenian law maker, Solon, made it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. I am asking your help and the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be free and independent.”

President John F. Kennedy at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City April 27, 1961

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