SEVERAL PIECES of news about government secrecy emerged this week that show just how far away the United States has gotten from the principle of open government. The secrecy system is beyond control of the president.
First, we got a reminder that there are still 50,000 pages of government record relating to the JFK assassination that are being kept secret, nearly a half-century after that event. That's despite the 1992 passage of the JFK Act, which specifically called for the "expeditious" release of these records.
Second, the New York Times reported on an almost comically long delay in the government response to a Freedom of Information Act request the newspaper filed in 1997. A response to the Times request was finally sent out earlier this week.
Any journalist who has attempted to use FOIA - which was designed to open up the workings of a democratic government - knows that the legal requirement of a response to a request within 20 days is entirely perfunctory.
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