Opaque Transparency

Discussion in 'Politics' started by DamnYankee, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. DamnYankee

    DamnYankee No Neg Policy

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Still Too Many Secrets
    The Obama administration promises more open government -- sometimes.
    (The Washington Post)
    Monday, June 1, 2009

    ON WEDNESDAY, President Obama announced the formation of a task force to review government policies that keep certain information out of public reach. He proposed the creation of a National Declassification Center to facilitate, when appropriate, public disclosure of once-secret information. In a memo outlining the task force's objectives, the president reaffirmed his commitment "to operating with an unprecedented level of openness." As The Post's Carrie Johnson reported, Mr. Obama also raised the possibility of reviving the "presumption against classification" that would preclude stamping information as secret when there is "significant doubt" about whether that is necessary. The task force, led by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, has 90 days to submit recommendations to the White House. So far, so good.

    Yet, at the same time, the administration is supporting legislation that could increase secrecy. The Justice Department filed notice Thursday of its intention to challenge in the Supreme Court a New York federal appeals court ruling that ordered the administration to make public photographs allegedly depicting the abuse of terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit to force their disclosure. (The Washington Post Co. filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the ACLU.) At the same time, the Justice Department alerted the court that a formal appeal by the June 9 deadline may be unnecessary if Congress quickly passes the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009. The department also asked Friday that the deadline be extended to July 9.


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