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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cheney exempts his own office from reporting on classified material - Chicago Tribune

As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as "top secret" or "confidential," one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
 
A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt.
 
Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office's secrecy when such offices as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is "not under any duty" to provide it.
 
That is only one way the Bush administration, from its opening weeks in 2001, has asserted control over information. By keeping secret so many directives and actions, the administration has precluded the public - and often members of Congress - from knowing about some of the most significant decisions and acts of the White House.
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