Thursday, February 21, 2008

US Army Blocks Access To Public Documents On-Line

The Internet has provided unprecedented access for millions of Americans. Through web sites and data bases, our government has made official records and documents available to everyone. For those who have never experienced it, the Library of Congress has a site that allows visitors to browse their extensive collections of photographs, documents and other media. It is a great research tool and a stirring experience for anyone interested in history.

Likewise the US Army had posted its printed documents, manuals and other unclassified materials for the use of the public and researchers. The collection is vast and its publication online was a great public service. Now that resource has disappeared.

The Reimer Public Library collection, a trove of documents that are all declassified and are approved for public release have been locked behind a password protected firewall. (
This is a troubling step by an administration whose preoccupation with secrecy borders on a fetish. Why should documents paid for by the American people whose contents have been cleared for public distribution, now be made “secret”.

Historians and researchers are upset as are open-government advocates. All Americans should be upset as well. The troubling trend toward secrecy by this administration hides the real workings of the government behind a veil. This kind of cloaking goes against the very principles on which our country was founded and that should sent an urgent message to everyone.

No comments: