November 3, 2000
Imagine you're a government worker who wants to raise the alarm about radiation leaks from a nuclear plant. Or a government accountant ready to spill the beans about a fraudulent weapons contract. Or a soldier worried about security lapses at an overseas base. Under broad new secrecy legislation passed quietly by Congress and awaiting President Clinton's signature, you could go to jail - for up to three years - for blowing the whistle on such government misdeeds. No wonder it's being called the silence bill.
November 18, 2015 |
Pennsylvania lawmakers are trying to turn back the progress Philadelphia police have made. Following a Justice Department recommendation in March, Commissioner Charles Ramsey ordered that the names of officers involved in shootings be released within 72 hours as long as there are no threats to them or their families. The Fraternal Order of Police wrongly called that a change in working conditions subject to labor negotiations. The union's opposition might have motivated freshman Rep. Martina White, a Northeast Philadelphia Republican who received a $5,000 FOP contribution, to introduce a bill to reverse Ramsey's policy and prohibit the naming of officers who use deadly force.
July 29, 2002 |
When Gov. McGreevey signed an executive order July 9 gutting the two-day-old Open Public Records Act, many New Jerseyans were taken aback. How, they wondered, could someone who sounded populist themes in last year's gubernatorial race impose, by fiat, more than 400 exceptions to a law that was supposed to expose government to greater public scrutiny? Supporters of the act hope McGreevey will reconsider. But I wouldn't count on it. The executive order - motivated in part, he said, by his fear that government records could fall into terrorist hands - is the latest example of a disturbing trend since Sept.
February 25, 1986
The newly created Philadelphia Computing Corp., which ultimately will spend $46 million in taxpayers' money, got off to a very inauspicious start the other day: It conducted its first meeting in secret. On the agenda was a proposal to give the head of the company a $25,000 pay increase, from $80,000 to $105,000. (The proposal was tabled.) The intended recipient of that pay boost is Eugene L. Cliett Jr, deputy finance director. Mr. Cliett was instrumental in having the meeting closed.
July 19, 1987 |
In three days of congressional testimony, former national security adviser John M. Poindexter has illuminated three underlying attitudes that strongly contributed to the Reagan administration's Iran-contra disasters - a White House preoccupation with secrecy, a distrust of the press and a desire to circumvent congressional oversight of secret operations. Poindexter summed up those attitudes in one revealing remark Friday to the Iran-contra committees: "I simply didn't want any outside interference.
July 22, 1987 |
Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter ended his public testimony before the congressional Iran-contra committees yesterday, leaving members divided over his credibility and his claim that he had the right to order the diversion of Iran arms profits on his own. House committee Chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D., Ind.), summing up Poindexter's five days of public testimony, criticized the former national security adviser for conducting foreign policy behind a wall of secrecy that excluded even President Reagan.
January 3, 2013 |
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's opposition demanded Wednesday that the government reveal specifics of President Hugo Chavez's condition, criticizing secrecy surrounding the leader's health more than three weeks after his cancer surgery in Cuba. Opposition coalition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said at a news conference that the information provided by government officials "continues to be insufficient. " Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the Dec. 11 operation, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the president's condition was "delicate" due to complications from a respiratory infection.
October 26, 2004 |
William H. Rehnquist is head of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary - a powerful, public official whose every checkup or medical development is meticulously documented. But when Rehnquist was hospitalized Friday with complications stemming from thyroid cancer, it happened without any public statement or awareness. And when the media were told yesterday about Rehnquist's condition, only the sparest details were revealed. There is still no word, for example, of how serious Rehnquist's cancer is - or even whether it's curable.
August 24, 2005
When he served as U.S. deputy solicitor general from 1989 to 1993, John G. Roberts Jr. worked for the American people. But now that Roberts is a Supreme Court nominee, President Bush is barring the public from access to documents written by Roberts in that public service. This secrecy leaves an incomplete picture of Roberts' public service and his views. Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats are justified in requesting these papers before the confirmation hearing begins Sept. 6. The law is clear on presidential records, or at least it used to be clear.
February 15, 2013
VATICAN CITY - For an institution devoted to eternal light, the Vatican has shown itself to be a master of smokescreens since Pope Benedict XVI's shocking resignation announcement. On Thursday, the Vatican spokesman acknowledged that Benedict hit his head and bled profusely while visiting Mexico in March. On Tuesday, the spokesman acknowledged that Benedict has had a pacemaker for years, and underwent a secret operation to replace its battery three months ago. And as the Catholic world reeled from shock over the abdication, it soon became clear that Benedict's post-papacy lodgings have been under construction since at least the fall.