Wired News: Secret ID Law to Get Hearing So far, the government has refused to show Gilmore the order compelling airlines to ask for identification, saying that the rule is “sensitive security information,” a security designation that was greatly expanded by Congress in 2002, allowing the Transportation Security Administration wide latitude to withhold information from the public.

Gilmore argues that secrecy and the power of the “sensitive security information,” or SSI, designation is to blame for the repeated privacy scandals at the TSA.

“TSA and DHS in general have set themselves up to be insulated from criticism, to have their inner workings be invisible, because they can pull this magic SSI shield over anything they do,” Gilmore said. “And what you see are the natural consequences of that kind of secrecy, which is that incompetence is never detected and corrected.”

Now I might believe there are rare cases where it might be important to keep such “orders” secret … maybe. Such cases should be quite rare, and subject to some sort of outside review. On the other hand, secrecy can be used to hide foolish and incompetitent actions - as a “security blanket” for beaurucrats (this the need for external review). Government beaurucrats using secrecy as a shield from criticism is not good for the country.

Where is the review?

Secret laws are an enormous danger to a liberty in a free and open society. Is this what we want as the “American Way”?