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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

2009 Secrecy Report Card

Hot off the presses -- OpenTheGovernment.org released its 2009 Secrecy Report Card today. It details slight decreases in secrecy across a variety of indicators during the last year of the Bush-Cheney administration. It also provides a six-month overview of the Obama administration's track record on openness issues as well as a section on financial transparency during the economy crisis.

Highlights include:

• Almost $200 Spent Creating and Securing Old Secrets for Every Tax Dollar Spent Declassifying
The government spent nearly $200 maintaining the secrets already on the books for every one
dollar the government spent declassifying documents in 2008, a 2% increase in one year. At
the same time, 16% fewer pages were declassified than in 2008.

• Reported Invocations of the "States Secrets" Privilege Continue to Rise
Invoked only 6 times between 1953 and 1976, the privilege has been used a reported 48
times—an average of 6 times per year in 8 years (through 2008)—more than double the aver-
age (2.46) in the previous 24 years.

• President Bush Surpassed All Presidents Since Kennedy in Assertions of Executive Privilege
President G.W. Bush asserted Executive Privilege 6 times in response to congressional re-
quests, as of August 21, 2008.

• 2,083 Orders of the Secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
The Department of Justice reported that, in 2008, the FISC approved 2,083 orders—rejecting
one and approving two left over from the previous year.

Get the complete report here.

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