OpenTheGovernment.org recently released the 2011 Secrecy Report, a quantitative report on indicators of government secrecy. This year’s report chronicles positive changes in some indicators of secrecy as a result of the Obama Administration’s openness directives.
The indicators tracked by the report also show a national security bureaucracy that continues to expand the size of the secret government. Formerly known as the Secrecy Report Card, this year’s edition includes a “Progress Report on Openness and Secrecy in the Obama Administration” that shows success, although uneven, in carrying through on past commitments and some troubling trends.
One more significant addition to the 2011 Secrecy Report is the inclusion of FOIA data from users’ perspectives. The report analyzes the often inexplicably long delays users face in receiving information they request from the government and brings attention to other issues that continually complicate users’ attempts to get government information.
According to Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, “We are not as yet at the level of ‘unprecedented transparency’ the Obama Administration promises, but we are beginning to see signs that at least some of the Administration’s openness efforts are paying off.” For example, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) backlogs government-wide were reduced by 10% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 compared to FY 2009.