Bush Secrecy Policies have Transformed U.S. Government from "Open" to "Closed"
Since his inauguration, Bush has overseen changes that suggest "a dramatic growth of government secrecy, far beyond the secrecy occurring during the Clinton Administration," writes Susan Dente Ross, an Associate Professor in the School of Communication at at Pullman.
Mr. Bush has increased the number of federal agencies authorized to designate information as secret and exempt them from public disclosure.The removed the agency's entire classification of information process from public scrutiny. The secretaries' of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and the administrator of the , have been granted the right to classify information "for purposes of national security and national defense."The Defense Department has adopted a new policy that imposes strict limits on discussion of all its "critical research" from the "idea phase" onward.Mr. Bush has placed his own papers, and those of his father, the former president, "outside the public eye and empowered himself to keep Congress in the dark about intelligence matters."Mr. Bush has increased the authority of the empower its director to block declassification of CIA information unless disclosure is authorized by the president. toMr. Bush has extended time that information can be kept classified from 10 to 25 years and this period may be extended even longer."Blanket closures of INS(Immigration and Naturalization Service) proceedings and absolute gags on disclosure of related information eviscerate the time-honored constitutional protection of open public trials," Ross writes. She noted the federal government "arrested and refused to identify hundreds of aliens who either may be connected to terrorism as material witnesses or who may have visa or other INS infractions."
"A shadow government that operates in secrecy," Ross continues, "does not advance the security of its citizens. Ignorance is not security. Safety is not increased when citizens are blinded by government deception and distortion. Government does not better serve its electorate when it operates with impunity."