Why give details that expose security weaknesses?

Question: Why does this, or any paper for that matter, go to such great detail to print delicate or sensitive information that the average person doesn't need and at the same time can help subversives?

Probably my best example would be airline hijackings, be it skyjackers or terrorists. Details on how the person or persons bypassed security, what type of weapons were able to get through the security systems, what methods of training preceeded the attack, etc.

It has been shown that hijackers pay considerable attention to news articles for information on what went wrong with previous attempts and how to improve their chances for success on their ill-intended venture or "crusade."

Any newscasting that exposes weakness in the airlines, police, fire, military, etc. only helps the next ill-mannered miscreant to finely tune their "how to" manual for their evil deed and provides no information of "need" to the general reading public. -- Jeff Bock, Clark Fork, Idaho

Answer: No respectable organization will print (or broadcast) information that truly compromises national security. Most of the information you see in print stories is already public, has been made available through other sources or is known by criminals, terrorists and miscreants through their own research and observation. In the contemporary history of terrorism involving this country, there has never been a link established between media coverage and terrorist action (except insofar as terrorists seek the attention they'll receive for carrying out their schemes).

While news organizations, most particularly newspapers, jealously guard their independence, we do cooperate with authorities on certain sorts of security information. But the burden is on government to show that release of information poses a true threat. Too much information to which the public ought to have access is being withheld in the name of national security. That poses a threat to our civil liberties and I find that as scary as any terrorist threat. -- Steve Smith, editor

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