2011's official secrecy outrages

The Electronic Frontier Foundation rounds up "the year in secrecy," a year's worth of shame and excuses in the realm of official secrecy from "the most transparent administration in history." As catalogs of outrage go, it's a pretty fine example.

* Government report concludes the government classified 77 million documents in 2010, a 40% increase on the year before. The number of people with security clearances exceeded 4.2. million, more people than the city of Los Angeles.

* Government tells Air Force families, including their kids, it’s illegal to read WikiLeaks. The month before, the Air Force barred its service members fighting abroad from reading the New York Times—the country’s Paper of Record.

* Lawyers for Guantanamo detainees were barred from reading the WikiLeaks Guantanamo files, despite their contents being plastered on the front page of the New York Times.

* President Obama refuses to say the words “drone” or “C.I.A” despite the C.I.A. drone program being on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers every day.

* CIA refuses to release even a single passage from its center studying global warming, claiming it would damage national security. As Secrecy News' Steven Aftergood said, “That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.”

2011 in Review: The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark


  1. Yes, and those of you who are US citizens will almost all vote for Obama in 2012, and you know it.  So try to keep the outrage dial backed down a notch or two, OK?

    1. Seem the US problem is that the election is mostly between two kinds of poison, both  presented by a representative of a corporate subsection.

      1. We’re not required to vote for either Lizard A or Lizard B, you know.

        Although in retrospect,  I rather wish I had voted for McCain.  At least when HE tried some outrageous civil liberties violation, the NGO’s and the press and the anti-war movement would be raising holy hell about it, instead of determinedly looking the other way as they do for this guy.

          1. Game theory addresses this. Americans need to fix their voting system  first. Without some form of preferential voting the political system will naturally narrow down to two parties which will converge on the same solutions and fight over the small swing at the center.

          2. Michael Smith: is that a mathematical thing where currently there is really only two voting options, yes to one, no to all the others? IRV with 3 ranks would (eventually) result in 3 parties in equilibrium, that kind of thing?

        1. It’s true, nobody ever criticizes Obama. Well, politicians and press do all the time, but for some reason they never fault civil liberty violations. I’m sure they’re just giving the left an easy pass, and would have if it were McCain.

          Oh, and there were some kind of mobs out on streets all over the country, but I’m told I shouldn’t pay too much attention because they’re upset about more than one thing.

          But yeah, where are the NGOs in all this? Why doesn’t the ACLU try, I don’t know, suing the government or something? Why doesn’t the EFF speak out?

  2. How bizarre…secrecy now seems to be like the two year old who thinks if he covers his eyes, you can’t see him. This isn’t secrecy so much as an attempt to remake reality by plugging ones ears and going “na na na na, I can’t heeeear you”…

  3. Obama does say the word “drone”. He threatened (jokingly) to murder the Jonas Brothers with predator drones if they came near his daughters. A mass murderer who jokes about his mass murdering. Barack “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” Obama ladies and gentlemen.

  4. Well, when Obama talked about transparency, he didn’t mean GOVERNMENT transparency, he meant CITIZEN transparency.  This administration has continued the work of the previous administration in eroding your rights to privacy & free speech.

  5. I make it a rule not to vote for those who torture or kill U.S. citizens without trial or oversight. So Obama, who should be impeached and brought before an international war crimes tribunal, is out.

    I’d probably vote for Ron Paul. A racist, anti-choice loon who reverses U.S. global militarization and supports #Occupy is far preferable to a pseudo-progressive who erodes my civil liberties further.

    1. I’ll probably spoil that portion of my ballot, honestly, unless I see some candidate that has a track record of being honest. Oh, and I won’t vote for any Republicans or Democrats – both of those parties need to go, third parties, preferably ones that include fairer voting systems in their platform, should go in.

  6. Going back many years the CIA building in Langley had no markings. Yet the city buses had destination signs that said CIA. 
    Long ago when I had occasion to see a secret document I found it was filled with useless eyewash meant to prop up a questionable project. Never bothered to look at one again.

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