Federal Times reports that, "The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government. In an undated non-disclosure agreement obtained by Defense News, the administration tells defense officials that “strict confidentiality” must be practiced to ensure a “successful” and “proper” 2010 defense budget process. "
So now budget data is a secret?
How does this jibe with the President's Inauguration Day pledge "Information will not be withheld just because I say so," he said. "It will be withheld because a separate authority believes it is well-grounded in the Constitution." and the Presidential memo that followed directing that "In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve."
John Podesta, formerly of the Clinton Administration, most recently Chief of the Obama transition team, argued brilliantly when he wrote in an August 2003 Prospect article, "But what is troubling about this administration's approach to secrecy is its conversion of the legitimate need for operational security into an excuse for sweeping policies that deny public access to information and public understanding of policy making. ...a default to secrecy denies the public the vital information we need to strengthen security here at home. And that is the paradox -- when the penchant for secrecy threatens to leave our country less secure and to weaken our democratic institutions"
I agree with that argument. Did then. Do now. I wonder what Mr. Podesta thinks?