"A secret may be sometimes best kept by keeping the secret of its being a secret."
I was reading his new book when Daniel Patrick Moynihan announced that he would not seek a fourth Senate term in 2000. A university professor who served in every administration from that of John Kennedy to Gerald Ford, and as ambassador to India and the United Nations before being elected to the United States Senate from New York, Moynihan certainly possesses the qualifications to write a book on the history of American state secrets. Instead, he offers a short polemic (his part of the text runs only 168 pages) that wanders all over the map, not just topically but also in point of view.
The inspiration for the book is Moynihan's former service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and his work as bipartisan co-chair of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy; its focus is the classification of secrets during the Cold War. Richard Gid Powers, author of Not Without Honor: The History of Anti-Communism in America and several books on the FBI, stresses in his lengthy introduction (59 pages) that Moynihan is an "anti-communist liberal." What Powers means is that, while Moynihan deplored Soviet totalitarianism and denounced it in the strongest terms (especially during his tenure at the United Nations), as a liberal...