Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood is the director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, and basically what he does all day is look through government documents and web sites, request information under the Freedom of Information Act, and other such acts of what we in this modern age for some reason call unpatriotic activites, or acts of civil disobedience. Basically, he protests government’s love of secrecy by getting as much information online as possible. Government agencies have the nasty habit of classifying previously open documents or yanking things from publically accessible locations that they consider sensitive for whatever reason. Anything that is remotely controversial or potentially the least bit embarassing is removed, as is a lot of other stuff for no readily apparent reason. Aftergood (great last name) simply republishes things that were in the public domain and mysteriously disappeared, with the intention, not of comparmising government secrecy or hurting America, but of making sure that as much information is available for review by the citizenry as possible. His views mirror mine — that information is like oxygen, crucial for life, and that the more information we have, the more informed we can be, and the better decisions we can make:

“What’s important is not access to one particular document or another,” he said. “What’s important is the deliberative process and the health of American democracy when you impede access. Mundane information is the oxygen that permits public participation in political life.”

Here’s a Wash Post article and here’s his website.

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