It’s often said that history repeats itself. Opponents of counterterrorism subscribe to Henry Stimson’s philosophy of national defense. Stimson, then Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover, shut down Foggy Bottom’s code-breaking bureau on the grounds that “gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail.”
But the only problem with a Gentleman’s agreement is that our enemies don’t always act like perfect gentlemen.
And although the original statement had specific reference to espionage, it encapsulates a view of national defense which is very much with us to this day.