The Day Information Changed


How has post-Sept. 11 policy-making affected Americans' access to the workings of their government? The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has compiled a lengthy, bookmark-worthy report [PDF], including a very useful timeline. (Link via Secrecy News.)

NEXT: Smile and Say "Quagmire"

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  1. I downloaded the document. By "very useful timeline", I'm assuming you meant the section of the document titled "A chronology of events". Well, it occupied many very useful pages, so I didn't read through it. But I plan to.

    I've been interested in the transparency/secrecy of our government before and since 9/11. I hope thing sheds some light.

  2. The worm will turn again after the Flt 93 tape gets released. FOIA rocks.

    I was a state utilities commissioner (Iowa Utilities Board) on Sept. 11, 2001. There were only two of us at the time, the third member having recently resigned and the position still open. I agreed to us removing the natural-gas pipleine maps and the electric & telephone line maps from our website. It seemed like a prudent thing to do at the time; no need to make such things TOO easy to find. However, the Chair of the utilties board, a long-time bureaucrat and full-time control-freak Nazi, wanted to stop handing out the maps altogether to people that came in to purchase them. I balked, citing a state "open records law" that made the maps public information, and citing legitimate needs that people might have for them. The Chair then tried to convince me that we should take names of people requesting the maps and make them show IDs and explain WHY they wanted this public information. I balked at this, saying we had no right to ask such things. She then suggested we grant "security clearances" and that people we knew would get the info, and others wouldn't. I asked her why in the world she thought we had the authority to grant security clearances! Without a third commissioner to break the tie, we were at a 1-1 standstill, which meant that status quo (following the open records law) prevailed. Then, she went behind my back and, as Chair, secretly ordered the staff not to hand out the maps (in other words, disregarding the open records law and ordering our staff to violate the law). I didn't find out about her deception until a few months later, when I was the only commissioner present one day when a county engineer dropped by to pick up a pipeline map, and staff came to me to see if we should sell him one. (We DID, of course!) Staff then revealed to me that the paranoid Chairperson had ordered them to violate state law.

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