Security Expert Peter Kornbluh: What Our Government Has Been Hiding

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Peter Kornbluh explains the importance of openness in government. (Institute for Policy Studies / CC 2.0)

The recently declassified trove of documents known as the “JFK Files” caused a frenzy among historians, politicians and pundits alike. Who better to explain what was uncovered from the documents than Peter Kornbluh, an analyst with the National Security Archive and director of the archive’s Cuba and Chile documentation projects?

In this edition of Scheer Intelligence, Kornbluh sits down with Robert Scheer to dive into the past and explain what we can learn about the CIA’s involvement with revolutionary leader Che Guevara, the Cuban missile crisis and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Understanding the secrecy and espionage of the past, he argues, is key in demanding transparency from elected officials in the future.

“We don’t want to go the route of a nuclear crisis again,” Kornbluh tells Scheer. “Here we are in a conflict with North Korea, and we do need to know what happened during the [Cuban] missile crisis. That’s just an example of many of why secrecy is bad and access to these documents—particularly historical documents—is so important.”

He explains how the JFK Files reveal how the CIA and the FBI engaged in covert espionage operations for decades. “It’s important to have these documents, but it’s important to have the model of having them declassified,” he concludes. “We should have had these documents very early on … instead, the CIA and the FBI covered it up, tried to protect their institutions in the name of secrecy rather than erring on the side of openness.”

Listen to the full conversation and check out past editions of “Scheer Intelligence” at KCRW.com

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