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Monday, February 09, 2009

Secret Congressional records, worth nearly $1 billion, released

More than 6,700 reports from the Congressional Research Service, known as "Congress' brain," were made available to the public by Wikileaks. Because CRS is a branch of Congress, it is exempt from FOIA. Members of Congress, however, may choose to release reports that portray them in a favorable light.

Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress.

The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress's analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Open government lawmakers such as Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) have fought for years to make the reports public, with bills being introduced--and rejected--almost every year since 1998. The CRS, as a branch of Congress, is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

More here.

2 comments:

Kojeve said...

I wonder, how exactly does one go about assessing the dollar value of this information?
Democracy requires participation, and uniformed participation is nothing but theater. All information – with the exception of sensitive matters of true national security, (e.g. Troop movements in war time, cryptography methods, etc.) should be readily available. The daily operations of government must be easily accessible by the people, and money must be followed carefully.

Charles N. Davis said...

Amen!