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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
Another secret of the epic.

The Warren Report lays down certain essential characteristics of the clandestine genres. The first is hyperbolic length. Simply put, the literary output of the national security apparatus is not made for reading. This isn’t a straightforward question of classification; the brute fact of a 15-volume report denies access, classified or no. This is true of the mammoth pile of Pentagon Papers and true too of the 6,000-page Senate report on CIA interrogations, of which only the 600-page executive summary has been made public. A telling anecdote: there are exactly 11 words on one page of the Pentagon Papers that were slated for redaction but which the black pen accidentally overlooked. Are they any less secret for it? Hardly. Length obscures, dissolving guesses, facts, and half-truths into a murky stew.

Grayson Clary

—posted 2272 days ago

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