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Greg Wagner
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Not very surprising. :lol:

Amount of data stamped ‘secret’ ballooned in 2004

Monday, September 05, 2005

Michael J . Sniffen

ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The government is withholding more information than ever from the public and expanding on ways to shroud data. Last year, federal agencies spent a record $148 creating and storing secrets for each $1 spent declassifying old secrets, a coalition of watchdog groups says.

That’s a $28 jump from 2003, when $120 was spent to keep secrets for every $1 spent revealing them. In the late 1990s, the ratio was $15-$17 a year to $1, according to the secrecy report card released Saturday by the organization OpenTheGovernment.org.

Overall, the government spent $7.2 billion in 2004 stamping 15.6 million documents "top secret," "secret" or "confidential." That almost doubled the 8.6 million new documents classified as recently as 2001.

Last year, the number of pages declassified declined for the fourth straight year to 28.4 million. In 2001, 100 million pages were declassified; the record was 204 million pages in 1997.

These figures cover 41 federal agencies, excluding the CIA, whose classification totals are secret.

"These numbers show we are going in the wrong direction," said Rick Blum, author of the report and director of the coalition of consumer, environmental, labor, journalism and library groups.

The report also noted the growing use of secret searches, court secrecy, closed meetings by government advisory groups and patents kept from public view.

"The 9/11 Commission pointed out that too much secrecy can make us less safe from terrorists, and the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina shows the public needs to know what could happen in their communities and what the response plans are," said Blum. He said a new law outside the classification system shrouds "sensitive homeland security information" about infrastructure vulnerabilities and plans.

"Public engagement in helping fight terrorism or addressing public-health risks is the biggest single advantage American society has," Blum said.

The numbers do not solely reflect overclassification, said J. William Leonard, director of the National Archives’ Information Security Oversight Office, which monitors classification. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attack, "many agencies have gone to 24/7 operations, others have increased their intelligence product, and the military is fighting two wars. You can’t do that without producing more classified, and unclassified, information."

Leonard said classification costs rise as agencies share secrets electronically. Yet, he said, "the great lesson of 9/11 is that improper hoarding of information can cost lives and harm national security."

The report identified 50 new restrictions in laws, regulations or "mere assertions by government officials" that keep unclassified information from the public. Some are needed to protect privacy or trade secrets, the report said, but "such unchecked secrecy threatens accountability in government."

These include labels like "limited official use," "critical infrastructure information" and "operations security protected."

"The volume and impact of these pseudo-classifications is growing," said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of the House national security subcommittee, and "inhibits the free flow of critical information."

Leonard said, "No one individual in government can identify all the controlled, unclassified (markings), let alone describe their rules."

Blum said he was encouraged by emergence in the last year of "a vocal chorus pushing back against secrecy."

He cited a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act and efforts like the Sunshine in Government Initiative.

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"The 9/11 Commission pointed out that too much secrecy can make us less safe from terrorists"

What an Orwellian, BS statement. Try getting a copy of a single one of the commission staff interviews referenced in the 9/11 Commission Report footnotes. All those interviews, from the top brass down to the lowliest WTC janitor, are secret. Why?

The Warren Commission and HSCA, for all their faults, published volumes of depositions, testimony, statements, and interview reports for the benefit of the public and researchers. The 9/11 Commission published a 567-page paperback, and what exactly was said to the commission in all interviews outside the public hearings is none of the public's business. And the 9/11 Commission has the gall to say that too much secrecy is bad for us?

Ron

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"The 9/11 Commission pointed out that too much secrecy can make us less safe from terrorists"

What an Orwellian, BS statement. Try getting a copy of a single one of the commission staff interviews referenced in the 9/11 Commission Report footnotes. All those interviews, from the top brass down to the lowliest WTC janitor, are secret. Why?

The Warren Commission and HSCA, for all their faults, published volumes of depositions, testimony, statements, and interview reports for the benefit of the public and researchers. The 9/11 Commission published a 567-page paperback, and what exactly was said to the commission in all interviews outside the public hearings is none of the public's business. And the 9/11 Commission has the gall to say that too much secrecy is bad for us?

Ron

Hi Ron-

It doesn't seem to be getting any better over time either. Quite the opposite. The sad fact is that so many Americans just accept it, or worse, don't even know. That is, they don't even know what they don't know.

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Hi Ron-

It doesn't seem to be getting any better over time either. Quite the opposite. The sad fact is that so many Americans just accept it, or worse, don't even know. That is, they don't even know what they don't know.

But many Americans are very suspious that the cover story we have been told about 9-11 is far from the truth.

So no wonder the massive secrecy. National Security, you know.

Check out Austinite Alex Jones on 9-11 (infowars.com) or Peter Lance, who is rapidly "catching up" with the opinions of Alex Jones.

Dawn

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