ACLU Hammers Administration on Secrecy Laws

Report calls for "radical reforms' in government's control of access to information
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According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Obama White House is just as secretive as the Bush White House.

In a new report, the ACLU calls for "radical reforms" in the way the government controls access to information and says Congress needs to more aggressively employ the tools it has to curb excessive secrecy.

"It's time to drastically overhaul the way our government classifies information," said ACLU Legislative Director Laura Murphy in announcing the study's release.

Among the drastic reforms it calls for are "strengthening congressional oversight of national security programs and enacting legislation to limit and regulate the executive branch's classification power."

The group gives props to the administration for reversing the so-called Ashcraft doctrine toward a presumption in favor of disclosure in response to FOIA requests and gave it a shout out for his review of government classification policies. But it says the record is mixed, and points to overbroad "state secrets" claims, the refusal to release photos of abuse of detainees in U.S. custody and support of a law to exempt them from FOIA requests, and the most aggressive pursuit of whistleblowers in national security programs of any administration, it says.

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