~ open government foils terrorists ~

The September 11 attacks on human life and the national security have since been used to limit citizen access to government records. Private investigators are mostly just citizens when it comes to FOI rights to obtain government documents. So we have received very little professional access. But even the 9/11 Report acknowledged that more access can lead to more security.

Rebecca Daugherty, a Director at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), noted, in a recent email, the absurd logic the government is applying to release of information.

The 911 Commission findings were that a major contributing factor of 911 was the failure of sharing knowledge on the part of various public agencies — with each other of course, but they also failed to share with the news media, which in turn relayed little of the growing threat to the public, which in turn knew virtually nothing about escalating Islamic terrorism. And the result of 911 has been, across the board, demands for more secrecy. I wondered how extreme we’re going to get here if we keep demanding public ignorance in the fear that terrorists might learn something. Should we stop teaching reading in the public schools?

The 9/11 Commission Findings stated:

But the security concerns need to be weighed against the costs. Current security requirements nurture overclassification and excessive compartmentation of information among agencies. Each agency’s incentive structure opposes sharing, with risks (criminal, civil, and internal administrative sanctions) but few rewards for sharing information. No one has to pay the long-term costs of over-classifying information, though these costs—even in literal financial terms— are substantial. There are no punishments for not sharing information. Agencies uphold a “need-to-know” culture of information protection rather than promoting a “need-to-share” culture of integration.15 Read the report


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