A Report Card on Secrecy

Last year, the number of “original classification decisions” — or new national security secrets — actually declined by almost ten percent from the year before.

This and other empirical measures of government secrecy were compiled in a new Secrecy Report Card (pdf) that was issued today by Openthegovernment.org, a coalition of public interest advocacy organizations.  The Report Card presented data on classification and declassification activity, classification costs, Freedom of Information Act requests, Presidential signing statements, assertions of the state secrets privilege, and other aspects of official secrecy.

While new classification activity slowed last year, the Report Card noted, so too did declassification, with 8% fewer pages declassified in 2009 than in 2008.  A National Declassification Center that was established in December 2009 is supposed to sharply increase the number of pages declassified in the coming months and years.

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