Dubya Watch

Friday, January 03, 2003
Government by secrecy. NYT's Adam Clymer -- you remember him, the reporter Bush described as a "major league asshole" -- has a big story in today's paper about the Bush Administration's mania for secrecy. Not a lot new here, but it's worth seeing on how many fronts the governoment is pursuing it. Also a bit scary is that they seem to have learned how to back off just enough to quiet critics in their own party. Plus Ari Fleischer's bald-faced lies are pretty impressive:
The Bush administration contends that it is not trying to make government less open. Ari Fleischer, the president's press secretary, said, "The bottom line remains the president is dedicated to an open government, a responsive government, while he fully exercises the authority of the executive branch."

Notice how that last phrase can effectively contradict everything preceding it.
Mr. Fleischer contends that there is no secrecy problem. "I make the case that we are more accessible and open than many previous administrations given how many times [Secretary of State Colin L.] Powell, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft have briefed," he said.

Translation: Never mind the documents we're hiding; we're open because we'll give you our side of the story any time you want.
Asked if there was anyone in the administration who was a consistent advocate of openness, who argued that secrecy hurt as well as helped, Mr. Fleischer said President Bush was that person.

Now we're taking this to Orwellian dimensions -- the guy who wants to keep everything secret is actually the most open!