In an 1822 letter to Kentucky Lt. Governor W.T. Barry, James Madison wrote that “a popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both.” Madison’s letter, originally espousing a robust public education system for Kentucky, has since been used as an appeal for open government. “A people who mean to be their own governors,” Madison wrote, “must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Today, the people appear utterly unarmed against the National Security Agency, which holds a incredible amount of knowledge about citizens while withholding essential facts about how it spies on them. That secret knowledge is secret power, which is anathema to democracy when in the hands of an unaccountable elite.