15 March 2006

AP Investigation Reveals Increased Government Secrecy

Local, state and federal government agencies are keeping more information secret from the public, making it harder for citizens to keep tabs on what elected officials and bureaucrats are doing, an investigation by the Associated Press shows.

The AP investigation found that:

• States have steadily limited the public's access to government information since the Sept. 11 attacks. It analyzed legislation in all 50 states and found that, since the attacks, legislatures have passed "more than 1,000 laws changing access to information, approving more than twice as many measures that restrict information as laws that open government books."

• "Many federal agencies fall far short of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, repeatedly failing to meet reporting deadlines while citizens wait ever longer for documents." The act, like similar laws in each state, is designed to ensure that most government information is available to the public. It also spells out how to request the information.

And Scott McClellan will forever be the court jester: "The president believes in open government, and that the presumption ought to be on providing citizens with as much information as possible about their government."

[USA Today...]


Mark said...

If the Clinton administration had done anything remotely like this, he'd have been impeached twice. But apparently this sits well with the black helicopter crowd.

TravisG said...

The president in Nov. 2001 overturned the Presidential Records Act of 1978 by executive order, thus giving:

"former presidents and vice presidents, as well as their representatives, 'executive privilege' to veto the release of any records":

When Bush took office in Jan. 2001, the first papers of former president Ronald Reagan were scheduled for release, the first such release under the 1978 act.

[Law professor and presidential scholar Dr. Stanley] Kutler said Bush aides delayed their release through the year, until Bush signed the executive order in November 2001.

"He justified it all as national security," Kutler said of the delay. "The Reagan family had no objection, the Reagan aides had no objection. So what are they worried about? Who was Ronald Reagan's vice president?"

A lawsuit filed by Kutler and Public Citizen was dismissed in 2004, a ruling the parties have challenged because, they say, it was based on "factual misconceptions."