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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Investigations and Secrecy

Why are investigations -- some investigations, that is -- so open, so widely reported on?

I am troubled by this.

Not because of the targets of the investigations, and it doesn't matter whether it's a government investigation, an internal investigation (e.g., by a company of an employee) or in connection with possible lawsuits.

It's because the more "open" and "known" an investigation is, the less likely it is that real useful information will be retrieved. 

I also suspect another result: The more likely it is that real useful information will get hidden, obscured or outright destroyed.

So if you're worried about getting to the real truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, remember Dixon's Thirteenth* Law: 

The more you hear about an investigation, the less likely you'll hear the truth; the less you hear about an investigation (and maybe you'll hear speculation that an investigation has "stalled"), the more likely it is that the investigation will be effective!

( * - This means you've missed out on the first 12.) 

Effectiveness, of course, is measured as getting to provable conclusions, not in an outcome that's desired (e.g., someone's indictment). 

Unfortunately, many investigations involving people in the public eye -- politicians, or entertainment figures like Harvey Weinstein -- spur observers to take sides and root for an outcome. 

It's very hard to keep an open mind as a neutral factfinder, which is the appropriate approach for an investigator. 

However, that's the mature approach. No matter whether the sides battling each other in courts of law or the courts of public opinion like it. 

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