The Stamp of Autocracy

Shhhhh. I have to whisper this to you because it's a secret that the Bushites want to keep from you: They have become totally obsessed with secrecy and are spending billions of our tax dollars in an anti-democratic lockdown to keep public information from... well, us -- the tax-paying public.

I'm not talking about deep, dark spy stuff affecting national security -- I'm talking about everyday materials on what various Bush officials are doing that affect our jobs, liberties, clean air and water, food, and other basics. The Bushites are slap-happy about secrecy, slapping "Top Secret" on any and every document that might reveal what they're doing to us... and who benefits from their backroom, closed-door actions.

Even before the September 11 terrorist attacks gave them a political excuse for shutting out We the People, Bush and Company were removing more than 33 million public documents from public scrutiny -- nearly a 50 percent increase over the previous year. They spent about $5 billion classifying, storing, and guarding documents, a 40 percent increase over the Clinton years.

This autocratic penchant for executive secrecy is so un-American that it has alarmed many conservative Republicans. Rep. Porter Goss, for example, thinks it's ridiculous. Head of the house intelligence committee, Goss says "I read report after report after report all day, and they've got some type of [secret] classification cover on it. I'll say, 'What's classified about that?'"

Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, thinks that the rush to secrecy is not merely ridiculous, but dangerous: "A lot of the documents are classified for the wrong reason -- because they're embarrassing, or perhaps because of a cover up, " he says.

Conservative or liberal, we can't let executive power hide behind a secrecy stamp, because next time some presidnet you don't like will use it against you. To battle the stamp of autocracy call the Federation of American Scientists: 202-546-3300.


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