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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Uncle Sam Making More Decisions and Burying More Documents Behind Closed Doors

Did you know:

"Government workers made 15.6 million classification decisions in 2004, a stunning 81% more than the year before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"American taxpayers forked over $460 each time a government worker wielded the secrecy stamp last year, shelling out a total of $7.2 billion to keep all of those secrets secure; that compares to $3.8 billion in 1997.
"The government spent $148 making new secrets for every dollar it spent unmaking old ones; for comparison, the government spent $20 on classification for every $1 spent on declassification from 1997 to 2001."

Or this:

"As for open meetings, nearly two-thirds of the 7,045 meetings governed by the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act, which explicitly endorsed the idea of openness in expert scientific and technical advice to policymakers, were nevertheless closed to the public.
"The record at the state level was equally dismal. At least 62 new laws putting public information behind closed doors were passed by states last year.
"Ironically, while the government is placing more restrictions on access, the OTG report documents a 25% increase in public requests for federal government information — 4,080,737 during 2004. Spending to accommodate those requests rose only 5%, however, to $336.8 million, and only 14 of the 90 agencies surveyed by the Department of Justice were able to respond to those requests as required by law."

Paul McMasters of the Freedom Forum has much more here.