Tuesday, August 31, 2004

US FOI:Government secrecy costing taxpayers billions

Interesting case for FOI, arguing that secrecy costs:

Taken from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (registration required)
Government secrecy is on the rise and costing taxpayers billions each year, says a new report by a coalition of nonprofit groups.

"The federal government spent $6.5 billion last year keeping about 14 million new documents away from the public and securing previous secrets, says the study, released Thursday. By comparison, the government spent $5.6 billion on classifying documents in 2002, including about 11 million new documents, and $4.7 billion in 2001, including about 8 million new documents."

"Government secrecy is not only increasing, it's also making it harder for the public to get the information they need to make their families safe from an environmental hazard such as a toxic chemical that's in their drinking water system . . . or from a potential terrorist attack," according to Rick Blum, the coordinator of OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of over 30 nonprofit groups fighting what they call an increase in government secrecy. They include OMB Watch, a government watchdog; People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group; the Federation of American Scientists; and the American Library"

Also see the website Openthegoverment.org

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