The United States has faced an unprecedented rise in government secrecy over the last six years, according to a report released today by OpenTheGovernment.org and People For the American Way Foundation with a preface by Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta and former Congressman Bob Barr. Government Secrecy: Decisions Without Democracy 2007 documents how executive power has dramatically expanded while executive accountability has diminished.
Over the past six years, President Bush has used executive orders to limit use of the Freedom of Information Act and Presidential Records Act, expanded the power to classify information for national security reasons, and created a range of new categories of “sensitive” information. In some cases, the government has gone so far as to reclassify documents that had been available to the general public for many years.
“As Congress and the White House clash over this administration’s unprecedented secrecy, Americans need to know the full scope of the problem,” said Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org. “It is up to us, with and through our elected officials, to preserve our heritage of open and accountable government.”
“Increased secrecy is just one of the ways that the Bush Administration has made the government less accountable,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas. “This report is an eye-opener even for those who think they already know the extent of the problem. At a time when technology should make it easier than ever to promote openness in government, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have taken unprecedented steps to cloak themselves in secrecy.”
The report can be found at http://www.openthegovernment.org/otg/govtsecrecy.pdf