Arrogance! Stupidity! (Both?)
For both amusement and instruction, you simply must read "Wal*Mart's Firing Of a Security Aide Bites the Firm Back." (Wall Street Journal, 04.09.07; p. A1; subscription required) It's more like spy fiction than what I'd call reality. It describes in gory detail the lengths to which WM goes to keep secrets secret. Wiretapping and microphones in the walls are the least of it.
There are two funny things about the article:
(1) It's simply funny.
(2) The goal of secrecy is stupid. I am reminded of the following marvelous quote from the strategy guru" of the 70s, Russell Ackoff: "Recently I asked three corporate executives what decisions they had made in the last year that would not have been made were it not for their corporate plans. All had difficulty identifying one such decision. Since all of the plans are marked 'secret' or 'confidential,' I asked them how their competitors might benefit from possession of their plans. Each answered with embarrassment that their competitors would not benefit." (from Henry Mintzberg, The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning)
Much more could be said (I have), but for the sake of this Post, I rest my case.