Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

January 28, 2014

Editorial: Incident doesn't help feds improve credibility

When the guys doing the talking are from the federal government, “trust us” just doesn’t carry the clout the government likely wishes it did.

Long before Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s massively intrusive domestic spying program — which was approved and vetted by Congress — the feds’ truthfulness was not all that widely regarded. In fact, lying to the people has at times been as all-American as apple pie.

In 1898 President McKinley used the claim that the USS Maine had been blown up in Havana Harbor by the Spanish as a justification to launch the Spanish-American war. In 1964 we had President Lyndon Johnson and the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. And who can forget the George W. Bush administration and Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction?

So it’s not the least bit surprising that Leelanau County residents are possibly not convinced that they were perfectly safe when about 60 federal agents, some wearing hazmat suits, descended on homes in Suttons Bay and Leland Township in October and removed and later blew up ... something.

The feds won’t say what that something was, but they’ve been quick to reassure residents they were safe. Sure, and that’s why agents were wearing hazmat suits and then blew up whatever it was they found.

There are times when the government, from local police to the Pentagon, is justified in lying — or at least not telling the whole truth — to the people they’re sworn to protect. Most often that comes in the form of not being exhaustively truthful. You can say you’re looking for a suspect without saying you think he’s holed up at his girlfriend’s house at XXX address.

But there has to be some respect involved. The folks in Suttons Bay don’t need to know precisely what it was the feds were looking for. But they’re certainly entitled to know if it was chemical, nuclear or biological in nature and that the feds removed all of the dangerous materials and destroyed them.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires