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December 27, 2007

Secrecy in government

Kudos to the two federal judges who ruled recently against the Bush administration’s policy of secrecy in government.

First, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that White House visitor logs are public record and ordered the Bush administration to stop withholding them from public scrutiny. The Bush administration is the first White House to not release visitor logs to outside groups and news organizations.

Second, another judge decided that the Bush White House must answer questions about the destruction of CIA interrogation videos of two al-Qaida suspects.

Bush has run the most secretive government in recent history. Hopefully, these judges’ rulings will help open the door to the public’s right to know what our government is doing.

Jane Toliver
Leawood

Comments

Jim

"...when you are dealing with people like Henry Waxman, Nancy P and Harry R you know that they will make every attempt to distort and misrepresent anything they touch."

Actually, I don't know that at all. Neither do you.

Please provide proof of this assertion.

Jim

Eng,

Why you don't see the need to get to the bottom of the politicization of the Justice Dept. or the destruction of CIA "interrogation" (read: torture) tapes is beyond me.

But if you need to see evidence of the politicization of the oversight process, you need look no further than Dan Burton, the Republican committee chairman for the last 6 years of the Clinton Administration.

Burton issue 1,089 subpeonas during his tenure, 97% of which were to Clinton Administration officials.

Burton handed out subpoenas like candy. He subpoenaed 141 different Clintonites. He held hearings — for 10 days — on the Clintons’ Christmas card list. In one instance, Burton was so reckless, he subpoenaed the wrong man (looking for someone with a similar name).

In another instance, Burton fired a bullet into a “head-like object” — reportedly a melon — in his backyard to test the theory that former White House counsel Vincent Foster was murdered (this from the man who is now warning against “sensational disclosures”).

To say Waxman is on a witch hunt is laughable. He's merely trying to get to the bottom of case after case of an administration that acts cavalierly with it's legal obligations.

Engineer


Jim
When the legal decision is made on the validity of committee requests then we will have an answer. The reason for resistance is that when you are dealing with people like Henry Waxman, Nancy P and Harry R you know that they will make every attempt to distort and misrepresent anything they touch. And they will be aided and abetted by The NY Times, The Boston Globe, ABC, NBC, CBS et al. Based on the track record of the Democrat leaders in Congress if it were my call I would be very reluctant to provide them with any information they did not actually require to carry out their legislative duties. jack-with your expressed opinion of Politicians why would you tell them anything? Based on you views the scoundrels only reason to want it would be so they could feather their nests. ;-)

jack

Eng: If Bush and crew are as honest as they claim, why are they the most secretive administration in history? What has been open during past administrations is now "unwarranted intrusion" by outsiders. The outsiders being we the people.

What are the Bushies so afraid of that they have gone clear back into the Reagan administration and made things "secret" that had been in the open for years? The very secretivness of the Bushies worries me.

As far as all politicians being power hungry crooks and scoundrels, "Well, Duh!" Who else would want the job? Especially the job of President.

Candidates spend years, making all kinds of behind the scene deals to get the money to campaign. They then spend additional years on the campaign trail. They give up any meaningful family life. They give up most of their privacy. They give up taking the vacation and relaxation time the money they make should support.

And for what? For a 24/7 work week at a comparatively low wage and the need to be constantly surrounded by security to be kept alive.

There must be something else they want out of the deal. I think it is power. Power in and of itself. They are addicted to power and will do anything to get and maintain it. All of them.

That is why as much as possible they must be forced to conduct their business in the open. It is the only protection we have against the power hungry.

Jim

Since when is oversight, the sole job of the Oversight Committee, an "unauthorized intrusion?"

And, while we're at it, perhaps you can explain your use of that term. Who says what's authorized and "unauthorized?" What does that even mean, Eng?

The Bushies have been whining because they're actually getting some long overdue subpeonas and getting called to account for things. Frances Townsend, Bush's former terrorism advisor, told the NYT that the fear of subpeonas is "crippling" the White House.

Poor things. Perhaps if they'd been more accountable and open in the first place, they wouldn't be in this position.

Engineer

Jim
Who is "crying like babies"? Resisting unauthorized intrusions is hardly that. But I am made a little uneasy by the general evaluation of the character of those in politics expressed by many on this blog. I'm for small government but there are areas that need government. It seems obvious that to seek elective office one must have, among other qualities, a desire for power. This is an unfortunate but unavoidable adjunct of our system. As to Ron Paul, whatever one may say of his views it is very hard to see him as an effective leader.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Actually Social Security is very similar to Enron, maybe worse beings that we can do nothing to put a stop to the Ponzi scheme.

GCYL

“That is the only way to put a lid on the theft and waste.” - Michael Kerner

No one expects another Enron.

Jim

This administration constantly does things that scream for oversight, then cry like little babies when someone actually engages in oversight.

If they're not doing anything wrong, then there shouldn't be any reason to be so secretive, right?

Mike4Freedom

You are all correct, of course. Government inherently lies and steals from us. That is the primary motive for most politicians, the ability to handle Other People's Money and assure that some sticks to their fingers.
Since government has a few essential functions that cannot be supplied otherwise (courts, police, army) we have to put up with the waste and theft that go along with those services. What we must not put up with is the other services that can be supplied without government. That is the only way to put a lid on the theft and waste.
Ron Paul is the only candidate who proposes a smaller government and, consequently, one that has less opportunity to steal.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Not based on his record. He is very much in tune with the US Constitution.
Why people continue to dismantle and ignore this document is beyond me.
No where in that document does state "fair share".......hhhmmmmmm....Hillary states that on her website.

GCYL

“It's all about partyline agendas and special interests not abut the American people.” – NoMore

Agreed.

“They are all worthless scoundrels and I refuse to have any respect for any of the crooks in government, well, maybe Ron Paul.” - NoMoreMrNiceGuy

At least we’re in agreement that Ron Paul is still a worthless scoundrel and a crook in government. :D

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Jane let's not be naive, government will NEVER be honesta nd forthcoming to the people. Remember the majority of our politicans and their cronies are lawyers and built their careers on secrecy and lies.
It's all about partyline agendas and special interests not abut the American people. Clinton enacted some pretty bad legislation just as Bush has. They are all worthless scoundrels and I refuse to have any respect for any of the crooks in government, well, maybe Ron Paul.

 
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