Republicans Press for Greater Disclosure

05.07.09 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Questions of secrecy and disclosure are increasingly prominent in congressional interactions with the executive branch, particularly on the part of Republican members of Congress.

House Republicans wrote (pdf) to Defense Secretary Gates this week to complain about what they called “a disturbing trend of restricting budget and inspection information within the Department of Defense.”

They complained specifically about a recent policy of classifying reports of ship inspections that were previously unclassified.  “It is sometimes only through the media and public awareness… that we learn of the urgent need to address some of the shortfalls the military has…. If these reports are classified, we are unable to communicate these needs to the public,” wrote Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and several Republican colleagues from the House Armed Services Committee on May 5.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has a “moral obligation” to declassify records concerning Uighur detainees who might be released into the United States from Guantanamo, insisted Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA).

“This administration has already shown that it has no qualms about releasing selected classified documents,” Rep. Wolf said on May 4, referring to the release of Office of Legal Counsel memos on torture. “The White House cannot just pick and choose what classified information it deems worthy of releasing…. I call on the Obama administration to declassify and release all the information that they have available [about the Uighur detainees] so the American people can make a judgment.”