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11/17/2004

DHS Non-Disclosure Agreements

Via Salon, I see that Spencer Hsu reported yesterday in the Washington Post that DHS has, since May, attempted to get all 180,000 of its employees, as well as local and Congressional homeland security officials and aides, to sign non-disclosure agreements. These agreements limit the disclosure of "any information that could 'adversely affect the national interest or the conduct of federal programs' or violate a person's privacy, a much lower barrier than damaging national security." Those signing the agreement waive many protections, including allowing "government inspections 'at any time or place' to ensure compliance."

This sheds a new light on the successful Republican efforts to deny civil service protections to DHS employees. It will reduce public trust in the DHS apparatus, reduce accountability, and deter whistleblowers. September 11th should have inspired more openness, not less.

 

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