On the op-ed page of yesterday's New York Times, Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) argue that government secrecy is out of control, with decisions about what material should be classified often based on ass covering rather than national security. "Thomas H. Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 commission, said that three-quarters of the classified material he reviewed for the commission should not have been classified in the first place," they write. "The National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office reported 14.2 million classification actions for 2003--more than double the number recorded 10 years earlier." Lott and Wyden's proposed solution: "an independent national security classification board" that "would have two tasks: first, to review and make recommendations on the standards and processes used to classify information for national security purposes; and second, to serve as a standing body to act on Congressional and certain executive branch requests to re-examine classification decisions."
Matt Welch comments on the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy in the August/September issue of Reason.