Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Democracy dies behind closed doors"

From the New York Times

The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 previously declassified pages began in 1999, when the Central Intelligence Agency and five other agencies objected to what they saw as a hasty release of sensitive information after a 1995 declassification order signed by President Bill Clinton. It accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the 2001 terrorist attacks, according to archives records.
Its killing me, absolutely killing me, to see the democratic institutions of this country slipping away like grains of sand falling through an hour glass. A functioning democracy is predicated on the notion that the public has the information neccesary to allow them to fulfill their civic duties, yet the public is now being denied access to information at an unprecedented rate.

Since President Bush took office the rate of classification has increased by 75% (as of March 2005) and this is part of a larger pattern of restricting access to information, regardless of whether its classified or not.

How can the public hold its representatives accountable for their actions if the public does not know what they are? How can citizens participate in the democratic process if they do not know what is going on?

1 comment:

gawker said...

Well said. On a side note, my precise problem with libertarianism is that it puts great emphasis on the freedom of choice without placing a great deal of importance on access to knowledge that would guide that choice.