Quickie: Secrecy for It’s Own Sake

I’m just going to juxtipose these two quotes for your morning pondering.

The first from Bruce Fein at Slate, discussing the RNC e-Mail brouhaha.

The RNC e-mail affair, standing alone, would not justify alarm. Most presidential records were maintained. Abramoff and Scooter Libby were held accountable to the criminal law. Violations of the Hatch Act were identified. But the affair betrays a White House enthusiasm for lawlessness and secret government irreconcilable with bedrock democratic values. And it is this pattern of secrecy for its own sake that is most chilling.

The second from Scott Shane’s article in today’s New York Times. It outlines the – shall we say – difficulties the Information Security Oversight Office has had with Cheney’s office.

For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the National Archives unit that monitors classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested abolishing the oversight unit, according to documents released yesterday by a Democratic congressman.

The Information Security Oversight Office, a unit of the National Archives, appealed the issue to the Justice Department, which has not yet ruled on the matter.
[…]
The letter said that after repeatedly refusing to comply with a routine annual request from the archives for data on his staff’s classification of internal documents, the vice president’s office in 2004 blocked an on-site inspection of records that other agencies of the executive branch regularly go through.

I would like to also note that the onsight inspection is usually to make sure that secret documents are properly stored and marked. I wonder if the Cheney Cabal was worried about missing or mismarked copies?

I think both articles are worth a read. Together they paint a rather dark picture of secrecy for it’s own sake.

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