Why is the internet on fire about Brian Williams’ tall war story, but we give the feds a pass, every day, for dishonesty that is far more consequential? Why do we talk so assiduously about matters of trust regarding a news anchor, but we still seem to trust government?

To take an example that is far more consequential than whether Brian Williams’ Chinook took fire from an RPG: news sources rake over twenty-eight pages redacted from the 9/11 Commission’s final report. Zacarias Moussaoui’s legal brief confirms suspected content of the missing pages: evidence that the Saudi government was complicit in the 9/11 attacks. So now we have statements back and forth about whether that claim is true. We generally don’t question sworn legal briefs, but what the hell? We’re talking about 9/11 here. When you blow up a portion of downtown Manhattan, plus the Pentagon, you might get away with it.

Why don’t we have an uproar over information government has withheld about 9/11 that equals firestorms over deflate-gate, Bill Cosby’s treatment of women, Brian Williams’ war story, and innumerable other social media trust and truth-telling cases? It’s as if the internet delivers a truth serum to our online social networks, to make sure the truth comes out and we hold everyone to account. Why does government get a pass here? Why do people who insist that government tell the truth about things like 9/11 get told to buzz off because they’re whackos and conspiracy nuts? Is it because of a presumption that the feds would never do something like blow up a part of downtown Manhattan?

Remember something. Dishonesty in government runs far deeper than 9/11. The feds torture people in public, and call it enhanced interrogation. If that doesn’t make you distrust everything else it does, nothing will. The government’s 9/11 operation was so ham-handed, inept, and blatantly deceitful that you know the feds relied on the popular supposition, “They would never do that,” as their fallback protection. When you conduct a false flag operation, you rely on people coming together in grief, sympathy, horror, fear, indignation, and desire for revenge. We saw it work for a while. Now we’ll see the truth eke its way out, the way it has done for other government crimes.

Let’s harvest social energy we devote to Brian Williams and others, and redirect healthy standards of honesty to ensure government liars and secret-keepers are held to account. I know that’s not a simple thing to do, given the feds’ elaborate regime of security classifications, and its ability to prosecute whistleblowers. Nevertheless, we have seen it release information, gradually, when the public demands it. Kennedy assassination records are one notable example. These records confirmed what so many argued from the start: that Kennedy died as a result of a conspiracy. We need to apply the same sustained, patient and public pressure to secure release of information that pertains to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Soldiers in those helicopters did not want Brian Williams to get away with his boyish storytelling about how he was shot down when he went away to war. That was a good impulse. We as citizens ought to require the same honesty from government officials we employ, to make sure the feds do not succeed with their far more serious lies about 9/11.

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