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  • Wednesday, March 15, 2006


    Government Secrecy and Sunshine Week

    Governments like secrets. Oh, they make lots of noise about national security and the need to keep information from our "enemies" but, at root, it's also a desire to keep nasty and inconvenient facts from the public. I use quotes on "enemies" because this is a category prone to expansive inclusion. Is it necessary to keep some government information secret? Of course. The question remains: What information needs to be secret and what information is merely uncomfortable to the government if made public?

    It becomes difficult to trust the leaders who say "Trust us" when, time and again, they have used a repetitive pattern of lies to mask illegal and unethical actions. As Juvenal asks "Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes?" or "But who is to guard the guards themselves?" What if the guards themselves are lied to as is the case of the illegal wiretapping program? The oversight committee of Congress wasn't completely or properly briefed on the program. And they have security clearance to hear the information and keep it secret.

    I was interested to hear about an upcoming PBS program called The Sunshine Gang, showing on Friday, March 17, 2006. I have no idea whether it will be any good, but it sparked my interest in finding out more about our current "Sunshine laws," also sometimes referred to as whistleblower laws.

    A brief history of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is on the PBS NOW site. There is also another website with information as well as listings of events around Sunshine Week.

    Let the sun shine in.

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