Essay on Government Secrecy

1367 Words May 26th, 2006 6 Pages
Ashley Simons "Secrecy and a free, democratic government don't mix," President Harry Truman once said. Harry Truman understood the importance of an open government in a free society. Unfortunately, George W. Bush has a different outlook. From the first days of his administration, President Bush has taken steps to tighten the government's hold on information and limit public scrutiny of its activities. Expansive assertions of executive privilege, restrictive views of the Freedom of Information Act, increasing use of national security classification, stonewalling in response to congressional request for information – all these were evident even before the September 11 attacks (At Issue: Has the Bush administration misused government …show more content…
The ‘secret' designation referred to information in which its disclosure might endanger the national security, or cause serious injury to the interests of the nation or be of great advantage to a foreign nation. Similarly, ‘confidential' could be applied to material of such a nature that is disclosure, although not endangering the national security, might be harmful to the interests or prestige of the Nation. The term ‘restricted' is used in instances where information is for official use only and should be denied access to the general public. According to an analysis released in August, 2005, by OpenTheGovernment.org, more and more government information is becoming less and less publicly available. OpenTheGovernment.org is an unprecedented coalition of journalists, consumer and government groups, environmentalists, labor and others united out of a concern for what U.S. News and World Report called a "shroud of secrecy" descending over our local, state and federal governments (Gordon 35). This organization focuses on making the federal government a more open place to make us safer and strengthen the public trust in the government. In its Secrecy Report Card, OpenTheGovernment found that the government spent $7.2 billion last year creating 15.6 million new classified documents and securing accumulated secrets – more than it has for the past decade (1). The increasing secrecy is expensive to maintain. The U.S. government
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