I HAVE SOME THOUGHTS TO offer on Benjamin Wittes’ report (“Shhhh! The Cold War Is Over, So Who Are We Keeping All Those Secrets From?,” 12/3).

More and more, the CIA comes across as a public relations agency, a sort of front for the other, more clandestine operations. Note the new openness from CIA Director R. James Woolsey or the recently published Consumer’s Guide to Intelligence. No secrets here—these are not the behaviors of important intelligence operations of a world superpower.

Robert Steele is correct when he argues that secrecy harms intelligence-gathering. By not allowing an openness of information-sharing, intelligence agencies become subject to the symptoms of inbreeding, a de-evolution or dumbing-down effect. And it appears that keeping secrets has become the task itself, no matter the trivial nature of the information.

Finally, I have a message for President Clinton: I’ll wager that you were briefed on the subject of UFOs the day after inauguration. I wonder how much you would be willing to share with us. Here’s a tip: You are on a need-to-know basis only, and I can assure you that even if you wanted to open up the subject, you’re not even going to get close to what’s happening or even who is running the rogue intelligence corps that controls this top-secret information. Others have tried—and failed. Just ask Jimmy Carter or Barry Goldwater. Carter promised the American people that UFOs would be open for debate. Then, no doubt, he was informed. You never heard about that again, did you?

Olney, Md.