posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 07:17 PM
What's the point of Extreme Secrecy? From what I understand -- per the History Channel documentaries on Area 51 -- the first two (airplane) products
of Area 51 failed to remain secret for long enough to have made the secrecy useful. The next project, the SR-71 became outdated as soon as it was
perfected. And now? I'd wager you could print out every secret within area51, box it all up and ship it to the doorstep of Bin Laden's cave at
minimal loss to "national security". In fact, it would probably be of little use to any government on the planet.
High tech weapons, to make them, and to counter them, require vast intellectual and technical infrastructure. The principles of building a platonium
bomb are within the grasp of a bright college sophmore. But to refine the platonium to the correct purity, to engineer and manufacture the shape
charges --- it's not easy.
And secrecy comes at a high price. I've seen it mentioned (even by Bob Lazar whose credibility bears little on this point) that the cost of secrecy,
not just in terms of financing, but at the opportunity cost of debate, peer review, and the value of ideas being tried through the "market of
ideas". Granted, the need for secrecy also exists in the private sector, and there will always be a trade-off, but it is interesting how the private
sector does ok, even phenomenally well, without the extreme black budget/overly compartmentalized kind of secrecy.
Some ideas I think are reasonable to explain "extreme secrecy":
- Complex systems tend not to just disappear, especially if they have infinite funding. I could think of some overly complex computer networks I've
seen, but they can't just become simplified overnight because of how interdependent the pieces have become with the rest of the business. Likewise,
"Area 51" is a piece of a complex economic/government/business system that is part of a greater whole. No matter how ill-conceived in many ways, it
is the way it is, and likely won't change.
- Adding to the first point, people in power whose livelihoods and career ambitions are linked tightly to what goes on there with no accountability to
anyone have no reason to ever change course.
- The greatest secrets might be wasted money, failed projects, dangerous practices (as per the 90s lawsuit), severely misguided projects, and things
of this nature that would require a "lot of explaining".