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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Spring 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

From the Spring 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

I think it’s legitimate for me to question all of our intelligence information, because I never learned anything from those briefings that I hadn’t learned in the newspapers.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa)

“Information is the enemy of corruption. Corruption feeds on secrecy and ignorance. It cannot thrive under the light spread by an open, informed society.”

— Attorney General John Ashcroft

“The concern is, if they disclose it to the government it ends up on the six o’clock news.”

— Harris Miller of the Information Technology Association of America, on the Department of Homeland Security’s new regulations protecting “critical infrastructure” information

“Heightened concerns about security call for heightened scrutiny of our government. Taxpayers have a right to know what government is doing.”

— Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

“If you are a records custodian and somebody asks you for a record, give ’em the damn record.”

Waukesha, Wis., District Attorney Paul Bucher

“Each time our nation faces a threat to national security there is a powerful tension between the need to keep the people informed and the need to keep the enemy in the dark.”

— John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton

“Government by the people works best when the people can see how it is working.”

— The Florida Times-Union editorial

“What we’re learning is that classification is a political tool.”

— Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy

“[O]ur public officials should rewrite the First Amendment and delete those controversial lines about free speech and freedom to worship. The revised amendment would simply state, ‘You shall not offend anyone, anywhere, anytime, or be subject to legal fines, penalties, sensitivity training and ethnic awareness classes.’ ”

— Harrisonburg Daily News-Record editorial

“I don’t think open or closed really matters to the public right now. What matters is the truth.”

— Andy Sauer, executive director of Common Cause, on the secrecy surrounding the impeachment investigation of Connecticut Gov. John Rowland

“Those to me are just the next thing to fraud. It’s running a paid advertisement in the heart of a news program.”

— Bill Kovach, chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, on the White House’s Medicare “video news releases”

John Kerry is “running on his military record, not from his military record.”

— Michael Meehan, senior adviser to the Democratic presidential nominee

“Secrecy is not a partisan matter. Rather, it is an issue of good government versus bad government ­­– and secrecy smells of bad government.”

— John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon

“A ‘Dirty Conduct Code’ will not only chill speech, it may deep freeze it.”

— FCC Chairman Michael Powell