from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 101
September 25, 2006

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Since the FAS Project on Government Secrecy was established in 1991, we have been persistent advocates of greater openness, speedier declassification, and more rational security policies.

In today's climate, for a variety of reasons, the traditional tools of advocacy have been blunted. Not even the bipartisan 9/11 Commission succeeded in getting its recommendation on declassification implemented.

So we strive to go beyond advocacy, and to do what a hundred op-eds and press releases cannot: to actually open up to the public some of the important government records that have been needlessly withheld.

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In most cases, these are not "sensational" documents that expose grand conspiracies.

But they are something much more important -- the indispensable building blocks for informed public deliberation on some of the most urgent policy issues of our times: how to combat nuclear proliferation, how best to defend against non-state adversaries, and how to preserve a vigorous free press in the face of mounting official restrictions.

The American system of government is today facing extraordinary internal pressures to retreat from its democratic ideals. The growth of official secrecy is an enabling condition for such a retreat.

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Steven Aftergood


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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