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That old-time hacker religion

[ by Charles Cameron — care and feeding of authors and publishers, secrecy and transparency, Abu Muqawama, New Yorker ]


I am a writer.

I somewhat understand the need for writers to be supplied with books and food, and that publishers of various sorts, online and off, take on the costs of finding us and giving us a public hearing – but I also think it’s idiotic for the best of our thinking to take place in gated communities.

On matters concerning national security, for instance…


Two quick DoubleQuotes with a touch of that old time hacker religion…


And specifically…



Certain things need to remain secret, I accept that. And there’s an inevitable tension, an ongoing tug-of-war between secrecy and transparency that even Stewart Brand, who coined the phrase “information wants to be free” admits, and that even the intelligence community responds to with CIA’s declassified search box, its responses to FOIA requests, and publications such as the unclassified extracts from Studies in Intelligence.

But here’s where I’m with Abu Muqawama:

The New Yorker has locked this article, which is silly, because this article has real policy relevance yet most of the people who need to read the article do not subscribe to the New Yorker.

Thankfully, Abu Muqawama / CNAS have summarized the piece in question, so you can read what it’s about and figure out for yourself whether you need to read the whole thing


So here’s a round of applause for all those who do bright thinking about world affairs in public view – or make such thinking available.

You are doing us all – I gasp to think of it – a public service.

2 Responses to “That old-time hacker religion”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    The CIA page for FOIA has added in a tasty morsel about UFOs and spies and stuff since the image I used above was taken:

    Do UFOs fascinate you? Are you a history buff who wants to learn more about the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam or the A-12 Oxcart? Have stories about spies always fascinated you? You can find information about all of these topics and more in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Electronic Reading Room.

    See?  UFOs?  I told you so!!!! 

  2. onparkstreet Says:

    I saw that tweet at Abu M’s site, too.
    I think that sometimes when people look at the internet they focus too much on a particular site or technology as a finished product. Instead, it is the process that matters most. I go read site one, read site too, think about this, think about that, maybe read a book or article linked. Maybe I never comment about any of it.
    And yet, the process is taking place all the time like Adam Smith’s "invisible hand," and all of that.
    Thanks for the heads up on the CIA page for FOIA.
    I just bought the Robert Gates book, "From the Shadows," too.
    World’s an interesting and complicated place, eh?
    – Madhu
    (For fiction, just finished Elizabeth Taylor’s "At Mrs. Lippincoat’s." )

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