Just As I Thought


It’s a compulsion these Bush people have, this secrecy thing. I guess they figure that if they keep tight control on information, they can say almost anything without contradiction. But take a look at some of the things they (and previous administrations) are keeping classified:

A former dictator’s cocktail preferences and a facetious plot against Santa Claus were classified by the government to prevent public disclosure.

Also stamped “secret” for six years was a study concluding that 40 percent of Army chemical warfare masks leaked.

These, as well as other examples of classification were cited last week by members of Congress and witnesses at a House subcommittee hearing into the Sept. 11 commission’s conclusion that secrecy is undermining efforts to thwart terrorists.

Some classifications were made in error or to save face.

The CIA deleted the amount Iraqi agents paid for aluminum tubes from Page 96 of a Senate report on prewar intelligence. The report quoted the CIA as concluding that “their willingness to pay such costs suggests the tubes are intended for a special project of national interest.”

That price turned out to be not so high. On Page 105 of the same Senate report, the same security reviewers let the CIA’s figure — as much as $17.50 each — be printed along with other estimates that the Iraqis paid as little as $10 apiece.

… The panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, noted that former President Bill Clinton directed that in cases of doubt, the lowest or no classification be used. But in 2003, President Bush ordered officials to use the more restrictive level.

Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ project on secrecy, said some classification was designed to conceal illegality or avoid embarrassment, even though that is forbidden.

Aftergood cited the “secret” stamp on Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba’s report of “numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses” inflicted on Iraqi inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.

We live in a time where the government wants to prevent you from taking photographs of public, visible landmarks. How long before everything public is classified, but your phone, e-mail, and social security number are given away freely?

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