NY Times Letter: Secrecy Goes on, despite 9/11 Access (not published)

Readers of "Families Forced a Rare Look at Government Secrecy" (July 22, 2004) might think the president's thwarted efforts to keep secrets from the 9/11 Commission signal a return to open, accountable government. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Commission did get extraordinary access to materials, but only through extraordinary efforts and public pressure to overcome government's sweeping swing toward secrecy. September 11 has given agencies and officials, and powerful interests who lobby them, a convenient excuse to hide embarrassing or incriminating information, including possible problems with our public health, safety and transportation systems. The government vaguely warns us of potential terrorist attacks but frustrates efforts to make our communities safe by withholding information that parents, community leaders and the public need. Instead, during this time of crisis, government must draw upon the knowledge, creativity, and resolve of all Americans. Keeping us informed is the first step. Rick Blum Coordinator, OpenTheGovernment.org Washington, D.C.OpenTheGovernment.org is a coalition of over 30 organizations and other Americans for less secrecy and more democracy in our government. - - - - - - - In response to a NY Times opinion piece July 22, 2004.
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