Monday, November 22, 2010

Bob Woodward: Secret Government Should Be Nation's Greatest Fear

From the Yale Daily News (ht FOIABlog):
lmost 40 years after renowned journalist and author Bob Woodward ’65 reported on the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency, he warned the audience at a Law School panel Thursday that secret government should be the nation’s biggest fear.

Woodward was one of four members on a panel to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the the Freedom of Information Act’s passage in Connecticut. He and the other panelists, including Connecticut Mirror editor Michael Regan and Colleen Murphy, the executive director and general counsel of the state commission that administers FOIA, discussed the difficulties journalists face in obtaining information. The general consensus among the panel was that FOIA had not proven as useful as journalists had hoped.

Woodward started the discussion by sharing an anecdote about a FOIA request he made in the 1980s under the Reagan administration. Just last year, he said, he received heavily redacted copies of the documents he requested almost 30 years ago.

“Government is a closed shop,” Woodward said. “FOIA is one of the tools that should be used to open up government.”