FlipSide

An open-government advocacy coalition, OpenTheGovernment.org, has released its 2007 Secrecy Report Card, which gives the Bush administration low marks on openness. The report card’s openness indicators mostly point to a sharp increase in government secrecy since 2001.


Classified documents
  • Classification activity still remains significantly higher than before 2001. In 2006, the number of original classification decisions decreased to 231,995, down from 258,633 in 2005. This is the second year in a row that the number of original classification decisions has dropped, but numbers remain significantly higher than before 2001.
  • $185 is spent creating secrets or securing old secrets for every dollar spent declassifying secrets. For every dollar the government spent declassifying documents in 2006, it spent $185 maintaining secrets already on the books, a $51 increase compared with last year. Although more pages were declassified this year, the total publicly reported amount spent on declassification decreased. The intelligence agencies, which account for a large segment of the declassification numbers, are excluded from the total reported figures.
  • 18 percent of the Defense Department’s fiscal 2007 acquisition budget is classified or “black.” “Black” programs accounted for 18 percent of DOD’s fiscal 2007 acquisition funding of $31.5 billion, which was requested in 2006.
Noncompeted federal contracts
  • More than 25 percent of all federal contracts are not awarded competitively. In 2006, 25.9 percent, or $107.5 billion, of federal contract dollars were not competed. Only one-third of contract dollars were subject to full-and-open competition. On average since 2000, more than one-quarter of all contract funding was not competed.

“State secrets” privilege
  • Reported invocations continue to rise. The “state secrets” privilege allows the sitting president to almost unilaterally withhold documents from the courts, Congress and the public. Since 2001, it has been used a reported 39 times — an average of six times per year in 6.5 years. That rate is more than double the average of 2.46 times per year in the previous 24 years.
Freedom of Information Act
  • FOIA requests continue to rise, and backlog problems persist. The total number of FOIA requests received in 2006 was 21,412,736, an increase of 1,462,189 compared with the previous year. Agency backlogs are significant. The oldest FOIA request in the federal government has been pending for more than 20 years.
Presidential signing statements
  • President Bush issued 151 signing statements. In six years, the president has issued at least 151 signing statements, challenging 1,149 provisions in laws passed by Congress. In the 211 years of the country’s history to 2000, presidents issued fewer than 600 signing statements.
Pseudo-classified information
  • 81 percent of sensitive-but-unclassified markings are made by departments and agencies without official rulemaking. About 81 percent of 107 sensitive-but-unclassified markings reviewed by the Information Sharing Environment Program Office are based on department and agency policies. The remainder of the markings derive their authority from formally promulgated regulations, about half with comment and half without.

NEXT STORY: FAS gets new chief of staff

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.