For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2007 — The United States has faced an unprecedented rise in government secrecy over the last six years, according to a report released today by OpenTheGovernment.org and People For the American Way Foundation. Government Secrecy: Decisions Without Democracy 2007 documents how executive power has dramatically expanded while executive accountability has diminished.
Over the past six years, President Bush has used executive orders to limit use of the Freedom of Information Act and Presidential Records Act, expanded the power to classify information for national security reasons, and created a range of new categories of “sensitive” information. In some cases, the government has gone so far as to reclassify documents that had been available to the general public for many years.
“As Congress and the White House clash over this administration’s unprecedented secrecy, Americans need to know the full scope of the problem,” said Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org. “It is up to us, with and through our elected officials, to preserve our heritage of open and accountable government.”
“Increased secrecy is just one of the ways that the Bush Administration has made the government less accountable,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas. “This report is an eye-opener even for those who think they already know the extent of the problem. At a time when technology should make it easier than ever to promote openness in government, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have taken unprecedented steps to cloak themselves in secrecy.”
The report includes a preface written by former Congressman Bob Barr and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.
OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition of consumer and good government groups, environmentalists, journalists, library groups, labor and others united to make the federal government a more open place in order to make us safer, strengthen public trust in government, and support our democratic principles. www.openthegovernment.org
People For the American Way Foundation is an energetic advocate for the values and institutions that sustain a diverse democratic society, and which are threatened by the political rise of the religious right. PFAW Foundation seeks to protect fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, sustain an independent judiciary and mobilize activists to support progressive causes.