Bush Administration Orders Stricter Limits On Public Access to Government Information

October 18, 2001

As the Pentagon buys up commercial satellite imagery to prevent journalists from seeing the effects of US bombing,the Bush Administration is trying to make it more difficult for journalists and others to obtain government records.

Attorney General John Ashcroft has directed US government agencies to be more cautious in releasing records, citingnational security concerns, and has said the Justice Department will back agencies that turn down requests forinformation under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.

The move by Attorney General Ashcroft is the latest in a series of attempts to restrict access by the press and thepublic to information about its so-called war against terrorism, and one with potentially wide ranging impact.


  • Tom Blanton, Director, National Security Archive, a non-profit research institute working to declassifyand expand public access to documents on US foreign policy.

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