Washington Cover-Up

Washington Cover-Up

Washington Cover-Up

Washington Cover-Up

Excerpt

No single factor is more important to the strength of our democracy than the free flow of accurate information about the government's operations. The citizen in a democracy must know what his government is doing, or he will lack the soundest basis for judging the candidates and the plat- forms of our political parties.

Our elected officials are given only a temporary grant of power, and only a temporary custody of government prop- erty and government records. Neither the President nor those he appoints have any royal prerogative; they have only a limited right to steer our government within the framework of the Constitution and the laws.

It is well to remember that every withholding of govern- ment business from the public is an encroachment upon the democratic principle that government officials are account- able to the people. It follows that citizens should regard all governmental secrecy with some suspicion as an encroach- ment on their right to know.

The American citizen should reject all arbitrary claims to secrecy by the bureaucracy as sharply as he would reject any claims to a right of the executive branch to by-pass Con- gress in levying taxes. A wise citizen should be as outraged at arbitrary secrecy as he would be at arbitrary imprison- ment. Logically he should insist on the same safeguards against arbitrary secrecy that he would against unjustified . . .

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