Award-winning NBC journalist and author Jonathan Alter offered this thought in his keynote speech last night at the annual Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs at BSU, which had a theme this year of “Watching the Watchers: Security vs. Liberty”: “The government knows a lot more about us than ever before. We need to know a lot more about the government, and what the government is doing in our name.”
This year’s conference was the 30th held by the Frank Church Institute at Boise State; Church was an Idaho senator from 1957 to 1981 and a candidate for president in 1976, when he lost the Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter. He chaired the Church Committee in the 1970s, which held ground-breaking hearings on CIA and FBI abuses in intelligence-gathering and covert operations. The conference explored issues ranging from how the findings of the Church Committee are relevant to current intelligence revelations, to how an open society in the post-9/11 world can reconcile the clash of freedom with government’s desire for secrecy. There’s more info here.