America's Obsession With Secrecy—and the Conspiracy Theories and Broken Trust It Engenders

Secrecy is the word of the hour. (Image created by Bob Hoge with artificial intelligence image generator Dalle E 2. Used with permission.)
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Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul was attacked by a madman with a hammer who broke into the power couple’s house in October 2022. America’s mainstream media almost immediately started blaming the assault on MAGA Republicans and right-wing extremists, but then quickly shut up when the attacker turned out to be a nudist, delusional commune-dweller whose political beliefs were all over the map.

Those on the right weighed in too—was Paul engaged in a homosexual affair gone bad? Did he know the attacker? The nutcase, David DePape, apparently broke a window; but was the window broken from the inside or the outside?

All of this could have been answered fairly quickly and everyone’s questions put to rest by simply releasing the on-scene police officers’ bodycams. But the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, for no valid reason whatsoever, refused to do so, and only finally did in January of 2023 after being sued by news outlets. Why would it take almost four months to release basic information? Wasn’t the whole point of bodycams to keep officers accountable and to reassure the public about what actually happened?

In the interim, the DOJ issued misinformation about the facts, and an NBC reporter was taken off the air for reporting a story that now turns out to have been mostly accurate but which dared to question the official narrative. (The reporter, Miguel Almaguer, wasn’t perfect, and his story was not 100 percent correct. But if the San Fran DA and the DOJ had been more forthcoming, would he have had to even rely on sources who turned out to be wrong?)

The Paul Pelosi coverup is just one in a long line of incidents where the federal government, the DOJ, or local police departments routinely determine that information that the public has a right to know is “classified.” By doing so, they help create conspiracy theories and paranoia among the public.

There are around 13,000 of hours of video from the Jan. 6 events at the capitol that have not been released—why not?

John F. Kennedy was assassinated in the previous century, yet is there anyone in the United States who truly believes the official version of what went down that day in November 1963? The federal government kept thousands of files under lock and key for sixty years. President Biden, to his credit, ordered the release of a tranche of those docs in December 2022, but there are still more that cannot be seen. I have yet to see anything in the released files that justified that more than six decades of secrecy.

Donald Trump was called a racist for questioning whether then-President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Obama could have knocked down this theory immediately simply by releasing his birth certificate—but he didn’t. Questions first started arising in 2008, yet he refused to didn’t allow the release of his long-form birth certificate until 2011. Why?

Meanwhile, anything that gets within a thousand miles of the Department of Justice is immediately buried and classified. Currently, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s department is refusing to cooperate with Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee by claiming that all sorts of subjects—Hunter Biden, the classified documents scandals, immigration enforcement—are all off limits because they’re “under investigation.” It’s doubtful they’re actually investigating anything, with the exception of Trump, of course; they are simply using this ruse to avoid sharing information with the public. And you can be sure their “investigations” will take years.

What about UFO’s? The government for eons refused to acknowledge that there are some anomalies in our skies, giving rise to countless conspiracy theories and mistrust of our authorities. In November of 2022, military and federal investigators aggressively raided the home of a UFO enthusiast who lives near the famous and mysterious Area 51. Of course, officials provided no information on why they did this, which will only lead to more conspiracy theories:

The COVID pandemic brought the secrecy trend to new heights, as information was not only kept from us under the guise of “national security”—but anyone who dared talk about obvious inconsistencies in what we were being told was summarily censored by social media with the full backing of the U.S. government.

There’s an underrated 1997 Mel Gibson movie called Conspiracy Theory, in which the actor plays a whacked-out, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist who thinks everyone’s after him. The twist—spoiler alert—is that he’s actually right. “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you,” wrote author Joseph Heller in the seminal 1961 novel Catch-22.

How many “conspiracy theories” have turned out to be correct since the advance of the Wuhan Flu? Too many to recount here—but let’s leave it at “you won’t get the virus if you’ve had the vaccine,” “masks work,” and “lockdowns are effective.”

Just to be clear, I’m not advocating the kind of sick theories akin to Alex Jones’ bizarre Sandy Hook claims, or the absolutely insane allegations that 9/11 was an inside job, or that we never landed on the moon. I want no part of any of that kind of ridiculousness, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious and legitimate questions to be asked.

American media and governmental institutions have developed a knee-jerk response to events, which is to keep as much information away from the public as possible; in short, we’ve developed a culture of secrecy when transparency is called for. The classified document scandal is embroiling Washington, D.C. at the moment, but does anybody really believe every single one of those files kept by Pence, Trump, and Biden contains earth-shattering secrets that endanger the world? I understand that we don’t want nuclear codes falling into the hands of our enemies (or Hunter Biden), but they act like if you come across them you could go to your local ATM, punch in the numbers, and start a global thermo-nuclear war. There’s a little more to it than that.

At this point, our government would classify a piece of toilet paper.

The cult of secrecy—which has always been there but is only intensifying—is not only not helping our constitutional republic, it’s causing citizens to lose faith in our government. Since the legacy media has enthusiastically jumped on board the you-can’t-handle-the-truth train, independent outlets like RedState are the only ones fighting back.

We are the new Woodward and Bernsteins.





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