Opening up - Page 2

President Obama supports more sunshine, but advocates await the important details
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citizens, extrajudicial detention of US citizens suspected of terrorism, and use of the military to conduct counterterrorist operations in the U.S.

In the last days of the Bush administration, DOJ officials claimed that most of these opinions were withdrawn by 2003, but open-government advocates believe their release helps prove the extent to which the Bush regime violated the constitution.

"Let's just hope Obama is just as amenable to releasing his own legal memoranda, four years from now, as he is to release the prior administration's more embarrassing documents," added Scheer.

He would also like to see an acceleration of the process for declassifying older national security materials and Federal Bureau of Investigation materials, and hopes that a review of Bush–era DOJ use of the state secrets privilege will "result in a modification or abandonment of that policy, except where absolutely necessary to protect vital national security interests.

"I think everyone became quite reasonably suspicious during the Bush years, when a privilege that was previously rarely invoked was popping up in literally dozens of cases and clearly being overused," Scheer explained.

Yet Dalglish fears that sunshine gains under Obama could be offset by the demise of mainstream newspapers.

"If the San Francisco Chronicle and Seattle Post-Intelligencer join Denver's Rocky Mountain News in closing this year, the United States will be in a world of trouble in the future in terms of fighting for greater openness and transparency in government," Dalglish opined. "For the last 50 years, the mainstream media, not the alternative press, has been waging most of these battles pushing for open government."