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Do we really want to know what the government does?

Missing in President Bush's current debate with Capitol Hill over the bill to establish an office of Domestic Security is any sort of discussion of a sentence in section 724 of the House bill. It's 724.a.1.A: "(A) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act)"

I'm confident that people from both sides of the aisle can agree with the statement that the inclusion of this sentence is, for lack of a better word, wrong. I mean, why would we want a 170,000 person law-enforcement agency with investigative powers to have to, at some point -- at any point --, release what they've done? Who they've investigated? Why they investigated them? What they found? Who they followed? Who they wiretapped? Basically, any other question you can think of.

One would think that the mainstream media would be all over this. The Freedom of Information Act is one of its hallowed treasures and being a watchdog over the government is one of its rason d'etres. Just go to a panel discussion at Columbia University or Columbia, Missouri... the leading lights of the American media talk about these two things all the time (and they beat their chests while they congratulate themselves). However, we're not getting a peep over permanently exempting 170,000 employees from any sort of independent oversight. Maybe they really do only write about what Ari Fletcher and Congressional press secretaries tell them to write about.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 26, 2002 1:14 PM.

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