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From saftergood@igc.org Tue Aug 8 12:22:51 2000
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 22:47:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: Steven Aftergood <saftergood@igc.org>
Subject: Lieberman on secrecy
Organization: Federation of Amer Scientists
Article: 102106

Lieberman on secrecy

From Steven Aftergood, Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists
8 August 2000

Government secrecy and national security classification policy have rarely, if ever, been the stuff of Presidential politics. But it so happens that Senator Joseph Lieberman, the presumed Democratic vice presidential nominee, spoke forcefully on the subject of secrecy less than two weeks ago at a hearing of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

"How our government classifies and declassifies information ... really speaks to the essence of our democracy, the citizen's relationship to the government and the accountability of those in power to the citizenry," Lieberman said on July 26.

"The arguments for the least possible secrecy in government consistent with our security are, to me, very powerful. Not least among them is the enabling effect on Congress to help us execute our rightful role in the oversight of government activities, including national security policy formulation and execution. But no less important, as I mentioned earlier, is the public's right to know and the enrichment of informed public disclosure on issues of vital importance to the health and future of our country. The community of scholars that will sift through appropriately declassified public records will make a contribution to the public welfare that goes well beyond academia."

The full text of Senator Lieberman's remarks is posted here:


Unfortunately, in practice Senator Lieberman has been an opponent of secrecy reform on several occasions. So, for example, he voted with the Republican majority on June 19, 1997 to oppose declassification of the aggregate intelligence budget.

Despite majority opposition in the Senate and the House, that total budget figure was disclosed later in 1997 as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, and again in 1998. In 1999 and 2000, it is once again a national security secret.

Steven Aftergood
Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientistsa

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