"The major trends we're seeing is that there was a massive swelling of the classified world after 9/11 and even though the government is declassifying it a bit faster, they're falling further behind as the swell of classified moves through the system," said Amy Bennett, program associate at Openthegovernment.org
and one of the author's of the report.
(2006) (statement of Patrice McDermott, Director, OpenTheGovernment.org
) [hereinafter McDermott Testimony].
, 2004) According to OpenTheGovernment.org
, this "dramatic increase runs counter to recommendations from the 9/11 Commission and the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, both of which recommended reforms to reduce unnecessary secrets." (Swartz, 2004; OpenTheGovernment.org
, 2004) (5)
Since then, transparency groups such as OpenTheGovernment.org
have documented that the wait for information and the list of rejected requests has grown dramatically longer.
, "a coalition of journalists, consumer and good government groups, environmentalists, library groups, labor, and others," monitors trends in government secrecy.
The discussants were Rick Blum, director of OpenTheGovernment.org
; Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake Campaign; Kareem Shora, director of Legal Policy, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; and Michele Waslin, director of Immigration Policy Research, National Council of La Raza.
Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org
, told FCW.com that the new framework is a good first step, but a greater focus on disclosure would improve it.
Agencies often label materials "sensitive but unclassified." The classification has been used to withhold records that should be public, said Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org
According to an analysis released in At gust by OpenTheGovernment.org
("a coalition of more than 30 organizations promoting less secrecy and more democracy in government"), more and more government information is becoming less and less publicly available.
The 42-page report resulted from Freedom of Information Act requests to various agencies to locate and produce e-mail messages and an online survey of 400 agency records managers with the assistance of OpenTheGovernment.org
. CREW, a nonprofit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable, said the results reveal "an appalling lack of progress in moving toward electronic recordkeeping."
The secrecy report card created by OpenTheGovernment.org
found that 15.6 million new classified documents were created in 2004, up from 8.6 million in 2001, according to AP.
"The current administration has increasingly refused to be held accountable to the public, including through the oversight responsibilities of Congress," said Patrice McDermott, director of OpenTheGovernment.org
. "These practices lead to the circumscription of democracy and our representative government; neither the public nor Congress can make informed decisions in these circumstances."