Obama moves to curb federal secrets

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091230/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_classified_documents

Obama moves to curb federal secrets
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 30, 3:06 am ET

WASHINGTON – More than 400 million pages of Cold War-era documents could be declassified as the federal government responds to President Barack Obama's order to rethink the way it protects the nation's secrets.

Among the changes announced Tuesday by Obama is a requirement that every record be released eventually and that federal agencies review how and why they mark documents classified or deny the release of historical records. A National Declassification Center at the National Archives will be established to assist them and help clear a backlog of the Cold War records by Dec. 31, 2013.

Obama also reversed a decision by President George W. Bush that had allowed the intelligence community to block the release of a specific document, even if an interagency panel decided the information wouldn't harm national security.

Advocates for a more open government are cautiously cheering the move.

"Everything will depend on implementation," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. But the order "has tremendous potential to reduce the level of secrecy throughout the government."

In a memo to agency heads, Obama said he expects that the order will produce "measurable progress" toward greater openness in government while also protecting the nation's most important secrets.

"I will closely monitor the results," he promised.

The still-classified Cold War records would provide a wealth of data on U.S.-Soviet relations, including the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, diplomacy and espionage. A Soviet spy ring in the Navy led by John Walker headlined 1985, which became known as "The Year of the Spy."

On his first day in office, Obama instructed federal agencies to be more responsive to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act and he overturned an order by Bush that would have enabled former presidents and vice presidents to block release of sensitive records of their time in the White House.

The government spent more than $8.21 billion last year to create and safeguard classified information, and $43 million to declassify it, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the government's security classification. The figures don't include data from the principal intelligence agencies, which is classified.

I'll believe it when i see it

I'm not too optimistic about this. I really wonder if truly 'sensitive' information will be released - or just old cold war documents that will please historians - but disapoint civil libertarians who seek a real unveiling of secret american foreign and domestic policies.

i suspect it will not be the latter..

But - if we SHOULD get some real meat and potatoes on our plates - and it is revealed that "Operation Northwoods" was not an isolated incident - it would go along way towards convincing people that QUESTIONING EVERYTHING is not just the domain of 'conspiracy theorists'.

For our newbies:

Operation Northwoods, or Northwoods, was a false-flag plan, proposed within the United States government in 1962. The plan called for CIA or other operatives to commit apparent acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Castro-led Cuba. One plan was to "develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington".

This operation is especially notable in that it included plans for hijackings and bombings followed by the use of phony evidence that would blame the terrorist acts on a foreign government, namely Cuba.

"We need to move beyond conspiracy theories and slogans - and return to our roots. 9/11 Truth is no less than a constitution battle to ensure our rights as citizens to demand full and honest answers from our appointed representatives in Washington." JA

I agree

Obama will never make public anything that would be of any value to the truth movement. Anything he would say would be a lie anyhow. And I thought Bush was bad. This guy is bad news any way you look at it.


yes we will see,
Obama has lied about everything thus far, and he has protected Bush and bushes dictatorship team up to now.
So to say he would block everything from Bush era when time comes isnt a stretch

Bush is ok with it

as long as the info isn't released until after he's dead.
On the 11th day, of every month.

Self Serving Theater

A clever means by which the corporatocracy can win back some of the confidence of recently disenchanted Obama supporters.

Generation old Cold War records will contribute little to the understanding of current events.

I think we will more fully understand

what the Obama administration is up to, after another year. Personally, I'm still willing to give him and his team the benefit of the doubt, although it is a disgrace how the Bush/Cheney cabal has been completely let off the hook.

I find the right wing conservative hatred of Obama to be irrational, but I'm a Canadian so what do I know.
On the 11th day, of every month.

In politics, the 'irrational' can serve a rational purpose

For sure it's irrational, just as was the hatred from the right of the faithful corporate servant Clinton. It's supposed to be wild, irrational, and alarming--thereby serving the purpose of creating the impression that some deep chasm exists between these two corporate war parties, inducing much of the public into seeing the defense of Obama (just as with Clinton) as somehow helping to turn back and defeat these wild, dangerous forces; all the while overlooking that they are thereby helping Obama to carry out policies which they would surely protest were the Republicans in office.

Where are the 9/11 records?

We have the Afghanistan escalation, continuation of Bush administration counterterrorism policies (i.e. warrantless surveillance) and the pathetic attempt by the Obama administration to protect the Bush administration from legal accountability for all sorts of criminal acts (i.e. torture, violations of FISA).

Recently Sen. Specter stated he would attempt to pass legislation so that lawsuits against Saudi officials and sponsored charities could proceed. Bypassing the State Department is required because the Department has refused to add the Saudi government to the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

The continued coverup and policies based on 9/11 are made possible by abuse of national security classification procedures.