November 28, 2006
Trust us. That's essentially the response of Philadelphia officials more than a month after The Inquirer reported on the deaths of children whose families at one time had cases with the city's Department of Human Services. Trust us, they say as they work within a fortress of secrecy, to fix what went so fatally wrong in DHS. The reality is this: Government agencies love secrecy because it can help them hide their mistakes. But the consequences of DHS's mistakes make it essential for City Hall to release records dealing with child-abuse and -neglect fatalities.
April 16, 1986 |
Members of a special House committee set up to investigate the state police agreed yesterday to keep secret the names of officers obtained from department disciplinary files. The committee, established by House Democratic leaders to look into allegations of racial discrimination and preferential treatment in disciplinary cases, voted unanimously to adopt the secrecy provision. The vote was necessary to resolve a legal challenge from the Conference of State Police Lodges, the union that represents state police officers.
September 29, 2006 |
The Inquirer yesterday asked a federal judge to reject a proposed confidentiality order in the case of two computer technicians charged with thwarting an FBI investigation of State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo. The public's interest in open and honest government outweighs any need for secrecy, the newspaper's lawyers said. "It is fundamental that the public is entitled to information about its government and those in whom the public has placed its trust," lawyers Amy B. Ginensky and Michael E. Baughman wrote on behalf of The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, which are owned by Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C.
July 20, 1987 |
When historians assess the decline and fall of President Reagan's credibility, they are likely to find that the Iran-Contra affair was a disaster rooted in obsessive presidential preoccupation with secrecy. Reagan brought with him into the White House a mistrust of the news media that had many sources. He resented Hollywood coverage of the breakup of his first marriage, and believed Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater had been unfairly treated by the press. The president also shared the view, expressed by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North in his six days of winning the hearts and minds of Americans on national television, that the Vietnam war had been lost on the home front, largely because of uncensored reporting.
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.
June 26, 2013 |
THERE WILL BE no more hiding and no more speculation as to what the 76ers have been doing since introducing Sam Hinkie as president and general manager on May 14. Tomorrow night, the Sixers are scheduled to make three picks in the NBA draft, first at No. 11, then twice in the second round (Nos. 35 and 42). At some point during the evening, Hinkie will come out and talk about the players he picked, or the players the Sixers traded for, or the picks they traded away. While that will be his top priority, the questions certainly will shift in the direction of what is going on with this organization: Is there a plan for free agency?
January 24, 1995 |
The Clinton administration has gone public with an armistice in the Cold War: an executive order changing the rules of government secrecy in cases of national security. The order takes some important steps forward. But they are only the first steps toward reforming a secrecy system collapsing of its own weight. The order's most innovative section requires public release of secrets more than 25 years old. Agencies are to be given until the year 2000 to find and set aside information that is still sensitive, such as weapons design or the identities of spies.
August 7, 2002
A federal judge in Washington had no hesitation last week in ordering the Justice Department to reveal the names of almost 1,200 people it jailed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "Secret arrests are 'a concept odious to a democratic society,' and profoundly antithetical to the bedrock values that characterize a free and open one such as ours," said U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler, quoting an earlier ruling in her own decision. . . . The [U.S. State Department] continues to insist . . . that secrecy was necessary to keep information from Osama bin Laden and other terrorists still at large.
August 26, 2013
A CIA document describes it as a "strip of wasteland. " In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower added it to the Nevada Test Site, a nuclear-weapons proving ground within the Air Force's vast desert holdings north of Las Vegas. For the next half-century and more, a library's worth of fact and fiction attached to this patch of scorched earth next to a salt flat called Groom Lake. But the U.S. government refused to admit that it even existed. There were close calls, though. Responding to a lawsuit brought by workers allegedly poisoned at the site, Bill Clinton issued an official presidential determination that laws requiring hazardous-waste disclosures do not apply to "the Air Force's operating location near Groom Lake, Nevada.
October 1, 2009
In a dozen or more legal challenges dating from the Bush era, the U.S. government's defense against allegations of torture or spying on American citizens has been to claim that litigation would jeopardize national security by revealing state secrets. That has prohibited litigants from their day in court. Even worse, the tactic deprives the American people of the chance to judge for themselves the legality and morality of antiterror strategies employed by the government. So it's welcome news that President Obama has pledged to curb the use of such state secrets claims.