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24.11.02

Are We Protecting Secrets Or Removing Safeguards?

The central trend in environmental protection today is managing information both to expedite regulatory processes and to provide the government and public with new levels of insight and participation. In balancing openness and security, neither advocates for the right to know nor those who stress security have a lock on patriotism. While no one wants to provide a blueprint for terrorists intent on disrupting our nation, the presumption should be one of continued openness, unless a real risk can be demonstrated. The protection of our nation's environment and public health -- through open access to information about toxic risks -- has become an essential American practice.


This article makes the point I was going for in my latest commentary in much clearer fashion. The benefits of freedom of information are greater than the risks for all but the most sensitive data. Terrorists and others who have dedicated their lives to destroying the US will have the time and resources to dig up the information they need. But concerned citizens do not. Hiding our weaknesses just delays terrorists' plotting. Openly acknowledging our weaknesses allows us to pessure government and corporations to eliminate them.

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