John Prados

John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive in Washington D.C.

Recent Articles

The Barn Door:

I t's true, but far too easy, to make the point that the new Department of Homeland Security is coming to us way too late, kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. A more useful notion would be to view President George W. Bush as opening the barn door and trying to herd a pack of assorted loose animals into a single stall, while the horses romp outside. The "sweeping changes that will strengthen our homeland" unveiled by the president in his June 6 speech -- in which he envisioned the creation of a new cabinet department to unite elements of the government responsible for homeland security -- are both less and more than promised. Initial impressions may be misleading, but it appears the department will advance security in just one way: By unifying border controls at entry points to the United States and combining this activity with aviation security and emergency response. At the same time, the plan threatens to weaken U.S. security in at least three other ways...

Democracy 0, Terrorism 1:

At the height of the Cold War, the United States argued that the truth would set people free. In fact, many scholars have attributed the growth of democracy in some foreign countries precisely to the free flow of information. We have touted the impact of the Internet on China and Russia because that information flow is presumed to have a liberating effect. Yet one of the consequences of the September 11 attacks in our own country has been the attempt to halt the free flow of information. An account of a number of the things that have been done in less than two months since September 11 shows the pattern very clearly: In his first statement on the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush called the terrorist perpetrators "folks." Other declarations Bush made that day as Air Force One flew around the country also reflected poorly on the President. There is a U.S. government publication, the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents , which is the official record of public...