How Much Does It Cost To Keep (What Should Be) Public Information Secret?
"The 9/11 Commission, leaders in Congress -- even the government's top secret-keeper -- all agree that Washington's penchant for keeping information under wraps has grown out of control. Now, a coalition of watchdog groups has documented just how much it's costing to keep all those records away from the public eye.
During the 2003 fiscal year, the federal government spent more than $6.5 billion securing classified information, according to a new "Secrecy Report Card" from OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of government watchdog and civil liberties groups.
That's an increase of more than $800 million from the previous year, according to the group, and a nearly $2 billion jump since 2001. But it's only a best guess, really; the report card's accounting doesn't include a penny from the Central Intelligence Agency, which keeps even its overall budget classified."
"...according to Rep. Christopher Shays, who chairs the national security panel of the House of Representatives' Committee on Government Reform.
I've read supposedly classified documents where page after page after page didn't tell me anything I didn't already know," he said in a telephone interview.
When asked what percentage of government records were being wrongly kept from the public, Shays replied, "I tend to think 90 percent is not an exaggeration."
"...the pace of declassification has slowed since 9/11: 43 million pages in fiscal year 2003, as opposed to 100 million in 2001, according to the ISOO."
"...the amount of money spent on releasing information has also slipped, from $231 million in 2001 to $54 million last year."
"...public thirst for government information seems to have risen. More than 3.2 million requests for federal documents were made under the Freedom of Information Act last year. That's about 1 million more than in 2001."
All That Secrecy Is Expensive
By Noah Shachtman
Aug 28, 2004 Wired News
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Reference: [via Rense]
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