Hiding the Truth?
President Bush's Need-to-Know Democracy
By Stephen Pizzo
To read the complete article and download the Special
Report, click on-- http://misleader.com/special_reports/index.asp?id=16It's been said that the first casualty of war is always truth. But
with the Bush administration's war on terrorism, it's hard to know, because even before 9/11 the administration had begun
hermetically sealing formerly public sources of government information.
It began when Vice President Dick Cheney refused
to provide details of his energy task force meetings with energy companies, particularly top Enron officials. Then, came President
George Bush's November 2001 executive order allowing the administration or former presidents to order executive branch documents
withheld from the public. At the time, the administration said the new restriction on presidential papers was to protect the
privacy of former presidents and those they dealt with while in office.
But, the order also shields from public view
documents from President Bush's father's term in office that could be awkward now. The suspicion was that the executive order
was designed to protect several current White House officials who served in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations from embarrassment
--specifically, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and former
Budget Director Mitch Daniels, Jr.
Each official had brushes with controversial policies in earlier administrations
-- not the least of which was the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration. The elder Bush, then-Vice President,
maintained he was "out of the loop." Documents in the Reagan archives might contradict that version of history.
Cheney's refusal to hand over his energy task force documents, and the presidential order shielding past administrations'
archived documents caused uproars among open-government advocates, historians and members of Congress.
Most of that
resistance melted away in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A scared and rattled nation was told that information was
potentially dangerous. During World War II, the admonition read, "Loose lips sink ships." After 9/11, the list of perceived
dangers expanded to previously unclassified information from virtually every executive branch department.
of these actions would have had negligible effects. But, the cumulative effect of executive orders and new legislation restricting
pubic access to public records has alarmed even many conservative groups. "This administration is the most secretive of our
lifetime, even more secretive than the Nixon administration. They don't believe the American people or Congress have any right
to information," said Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, a conservative group that is suing the administration to
force it to reveal the members of the energy task force. ...