Transparency and accountability in a time of terror: The Bush administration's assault on Freedom of Information

Jane E Kirtley, Ashley Ewald

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In April 2006, the Bush administration launched a variety of new attacks on the press following the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Leakers and the recipients of leaks were targeted for criticism and denunciation, and were threatened with prosecution. The very real possibility of a de facto Official Secrets Act no longer seemed unthinkable in the context of the continuing war on terror. Yet the government's obsession with secrecy did not begin with the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Bush administration's contempt for the public's right to know amounts to an organized assault on freedom of information that is unprecedented since the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act forty years ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-509
Number of pages31
JournalCommunication Law and Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Bibliographical note

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He also said he was concerned about giving terrorists ideas.126 However, the National Academy of Science spokesman, Bill Skane, accused Fenton of “prolonging the classification review because the report criticized Fenton’s efforts to develop non-lethal weapons for the U.S. military” according to the Inside the Navy article.127 Shortly after Fenton’s retirement, the report was designated unclassified by the Office of Naval Research and allowed to be published.128


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