12 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 671 (2002-2003)
Withold and Control: Information in the Bush Administration

handle is hein.journals/kjpp12 and id is 681 raw text is: Withhold and Control:
Information in the Bush Administration
Patrice McDermott
The current Bush Administration has frequently been characterized as the most
secretive in recent history. They are, undoubtedly, very focused on controlling the
message and clearly appreciate that information is power. This Administration
appears to understand even more clearly, moreover, that lack of information leads to
lack of power. The tendency to control does not fit neatly under the usual attribution
of secrecy, however.  Rather, there are four different threads to the Bush
Administration's approach to public access to government information. These are
secrecy; a resistance to accountability to the public and, even more pointedly, to
Congress; a belief in a need-to-know approach to information, in other words, that
access should depend on who you are and whether the government considers you fit to
receive the information; and, finally, what I characterize as ideological purity.
I.    SECRECY                 Patrice McDermott is the Assistant
Director of the Office of Government
The     Administration   has   Relations at the American Library
responded to the events of September  Association-Washington Office.
11, 2001 with directives and actions
aimed at closely controlling information  Dr. McDermott received her doctorate
about its campaign against terrorism-  in political science from the University
both domestically and internationally-  of Arizona and her master's in library
and controlling information that it  and information studies from  Emory
asserts could be used by terrorists.  University.
Some examination of the information
openly disseminated by the federal   This article draws from and builds on
government prior to September 1 l   the work of her colleagues in the library
was, doubtless, warranted.     The   community and in the public interest
response  of   the   Administration,  community in D.C. who fight for
however, has been blanket withholding  openness every day.
and removal.


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