We Need Fewer Secrets
It’s not all that often that I’m in agreement with former President Jimmy Carter on controversial issues of public policy. I’m with him though, that “We Need Fewer Secrets.”
The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) turns 40 tomorrow, the day we celebrate our independence. But this anniversary will not be a day of celebration for the right to information in our country. Our government leaders have become increasingly obsessed with secrecy. Obstructionist policies and deficient practices have ensured that many important public documents and official actions remain hidden from our view.
Now, I’m not sure that reform of FOIA is that answer so much as a cultural change that would make classification more difficult and perhaps a rapid sunsetting that would require overt action and explanation for keeping things classified. It’s undoubtedly the case, though, that our government has an institutional bias toward secrecy.