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Expanding his drive to open government, President Barack Obama is ordering two studies of whether the government is classifying too much information and using too many different ways to keep it from public view.
He wants the answers in just 90 days, and it's no secret which way he's leaning.
In a memo Wednesday, Obama ordered national security adviser James L. Jones to consult relevant agencies and recommend revisions in the existing presidential order on national security classification that lays out the rules under which agencies can stamp documents "confidential," "secret" or "top secret."
Following sharp increases in the first several years after 9/11, the total estimated costs of implementing the national security classification system seem to have leveled off at around $10 billion annually, according to a new report to the President (pdf) from the Information Security Oversight Office. The total cost of protecting classified information in government and industry last year was $9.85 billion, down slightly from $9.9 billion the year before, ISOO director William J. Bosanko reported.
(also) In the latest ISOO report to the President, Mr. Bosanko noted that the cost estimates for CIA, DIA, ODNI, NGA, NRO, and NSA were all classified “in accordance with Intelligence Community classification guidance.”
The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control.
JFK's address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27th 1961
He has sought out and been interviewed by more TV journalists and talk show hosts during the past month than during the eight years he was vice president.
The topic is always the same. Torture was done during the Bush–Cheney Administration, and it was effective. Persons held at Guantanamo Bay are evil and should never be released. President Obama’s actions are a threat to national security. Cheney claims that because of the actions he and George W. Bush took after 9/11, there were no more attacks upon the United States.
What's more, as part of a full-throated defense of her dad's torture policies, Liz Cheney has been all over the television news. I asked my friends at Media Matters to check on just how many interviews Cheney has done lately. They came up with this list that spans the last 10 days (and today isn't over yet):
* On the May 22 edition of ABC's "Good Morning America"
* On the May 22 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
* On the May 22 edition of CNN's "American Morning"
* On the May 21 edition of CNN's "AC360"
* On the May 21 edition of Fox News' "Hannity"
* On the May 21 edition of "MSNBC News Live"
* On the May 20 edition of Fox News' "Your World"
* On the May 17 edition of ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos"
* On the May 16 edition of Fox News' "Fox & Friends Saturday"
* On the May 15 edition of Fox News' "On the Record"
* On the May 12 edition of Fox News' "Live Desk"
* On the May 12 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
That's 12 appearances, in nine and a half days, spanning four networks. (On today's "Morning Joe," Liz Cheney was on for an entire hour -- effectively becoming a co-host of the program.) And this is just television, and doesn't include Liz Cheney's interviews on radio or with print media.