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Secrecy

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NEWS
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.
NEWS
November 18, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
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.
NEWS
July 29, 2002 | By Kevin Walker
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
July 19, 1987 | By Haynes Johnson, Washington Post
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.
NEWS
July 22, 1987 | By R.A. Zaldivar and Charles Green, Inquirer Washington Bureau
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.
NEWS
January 3, 2013 | By Ian James, Associated Press
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.
NEWS
October 26, 2004 | By Stephen Henderson INQUIRER WASHINGTON BUREAU
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
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.
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BUSINESS
April 11, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
Since kings and councils first squeezed successful citizens to pay armies and administrators, the rich have hidden fortunes from tax collectors. A global industry of specialty lawyers, bankers, and agreeable local officials has spread through poor and island nations, British colonies, fee-hungry U.S. states, and other business-friendly outposts. They sell secrecy so corporations, criminals, and public officials can avoid much larger tax payments, sometimes legally. The Panama Papers , millions of stolen digital documents leaked to a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung , and shared through the donor-funded International Consortium of Investigative Journalists , have lifted a bank-secrecy veil to show how a large Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co. , helped leaders of Russia, Pakistan, and other countries, plus gun-runners, drug dealers, soccer bureaucrats, and private citizens, hide money from taxes and disclosures.
NEWS
March 26, 2016 | By Craig R. McCoy, Staff Writer
Five news organizations, including the parent company of the Inquirer, the Daily News, and Philly.com, on Friday urged the judge in Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's upcoming criminal trial to reject her request to file a key defense argument in secret. Kane has asked Montgomery County Court Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy to permit her to file under seal a brief contending that she is the victim of a "selective and vindictive" prosecution. If her request is granted, her argument could be read only by the judge and Kane's prosecutors, not by the public.
NEWS
February 16, 2016
There is no acceptable reason for St. Christopher's Hospital for Children to withhold vital clinical data that could help parents decide whether their newborn baby should have open-heart surgery there. No aspect of the risks inherent in such delicate procedures should be kept under lock and key. The North Philadelphia hospital refused to participate in a voluntary survey of infant heart surgery mortality rates conducted by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. It was the only one of five Pennsylvania hospitals performing the surgeries that wouldn't participate in the state's first-ever evaluation of such programs.
NEWS
November 18, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
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.
NEWS
September 20, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
Montgomery County investigators seized a key document during their search this week of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's offices that could undercut the defense in her criminal case, The Inquirer has learned. As they executed a search warrant Thursday at Kane's Harrisburg office, the detectives found an oath of secrecy she signed shortly after taking office in January 2013. In the oath, she swore to keep confidential decades worth of grand jury investigations, according to sources familiar with the document.
NEWS
September 19, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Pushing for more evidence even after charging Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Montgomery County investigators Thursday conducted a new search to test her testimony that she never signed a key oath of secrecy, The Inquirer has learned. Montgomery County detectives executed the search warrant shortly after 11 a.m. at Kane's offices here, seeking an oath of secrecy she may have signed shortly after taking office pledging to keep years of grand jury investigations confidential.
BUSINESS
May 25, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
When crude oil arrives at a refinery in South Philadelphia or Marcus Hook or Paulsboro, the refinery must have a public plan outlining the hazards, a detailed response to possible accidents, and worst-case scenarios for disasters that could endanger hundreds of thousands of people. Not so the trains carrying oil to the refineries. As they travel past the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia International Airport, along the Schuylkill Expressway, and past thousands of homes, schools and businesses, the oil trains need no public accounting of what they are carrying, or when or where, or what could happen if something goes wrong.
NEWS
March 25, 2015
THE long-awaited, 174- page report on the Philadelphia Police Department from the Department of Justice released yesterday - which concludes that the department has great deficiencies when it comes to policies and training, especially around the use of deadly force - is thorough, prescriptive . . . and somewhat depressing. We don't necessarily find the department's problems detailed within the report depressing, nor even the fact that during a period when Philadelphia violent crime has decreased, police-involved shootings have increased.
NEWS
March 16, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Perhaps the 30,000 e-mails Hillary Clinton unilaterally consigned to electronic oblivion contained nothing more pertinent to the national interest than the then-secretary of state's yoga routine. And no one is going to the mat over whether the presidential hopeful and her swami typed sideways smiley faces while discussing the downward dog pose. The trouble is that Clinton's use of a private e-mail account ensured that the sole arbiter of her communications' public relevance was Clinton herself.
NEWS
November 20, 2014 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane could not have broken the law by leaking information this year about a secret 2009 investigation, because she was not in office when that probe occurred, one of her lawyers asserted Tuesday. In an interview, Lanny Davis suggested that because Kane was at home raising two children in 2009, she was not bound by the secrecy laws that bar the release of grand jury information. Davis said that responsibility did not start until Kane took her oath of office last year, and applies only to subsequent cases.
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