In A Few Good Men, Col. Jessup, Lt. Col. Markinson and Lt. Kendrick have a private meeting to discuss PFC William T. Santiago's letter in which he pleads to be transferred off the base and in return, he would disclose information about an illegal fenceline shooting.

Lt. Col. Markinson, in the meeting, suggests that Santiago should be transferred off the base immediately, because the content of the letter would spread out and his fellow soldiers would assault him for ratting them.

How exactly would the content of the letter leak to other soldiers, if apparently only the three officers in the room were aware of the letter?

2 Answers 2


The three officers present in the meeting (Jessup, Markinson, and Kendrick) don't spend their time censoring the base's postal mail. There are base staff members who do the actual censoring (opening and reading letters/packages to check for contraband material or information). One or more of them have seen this letter and Markinson is implying the letter's contents would leak from them.


TL;DR: Benjamin Franklin once said:

Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

PFC Santiago sent 14 letters, and many people had access to these letters. On the sending or receiving end, there are people working for the communication services, opening and filtering letters and all kind of media.

Any high-ranking officer has some help, an aide-de-camp, who is the first person to know about everything, like any secretary in any company or administration.

And people have connections and friends, and people talk, especially when it comes to betrayal, as the letter would be seen. There is no way no one knows Santiago sent a letter, least of all 14.

Caffee: Your honor, these are the telephone records from GITMO for August 6th. And these are 14 letters that Santiago wrote in nine months requesting, in fact begging, for a transfer. script - page #154

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