How to Fix It: Let the Sun Shine In

“There’s a famous line from National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy: ‘If you guard your toothbrushes and your diamonds with equal zeal, you’ll lose fewer toothbrushes and more diamonds.’ Right now all the resources are in classification and we need to get back into the declassification business, because that’s American history. And it’s also accountability. It isn’t just dusty stuff. If all these guys think that nothing is gonna come out for 100 years, they’re going to act a whole lot more boldly.

“And it’s not going to be simply a matter of flipping a switch to undo it. This default position to operating in the shadows is going to be somewhat appealing to whomever inherits that office. Even when Pelosi came into power and the Democrats assumed the majority in both houses, there was a predisposition toward secrecy. You’re going to have to bring in people dedicated to transparency, and you have to demonstrate that there are rewards for candor. We have to restore the protections of whistleblowers and also the encouragement and rewards. It shouldn’t just be that they don’t get crucified; it should be that they are again folk heroes, as opposed to traitors.”

Read an extended interview with Ted Gup about the Bush legacy here.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.