Thursday, September 06, 2007

That's one expensive rubber stamp

The classification process cost us $8.2 billion last year:
Among the findings from the report:

Businesses enjoyed a no-bid process for 26 percent, or $107.5 billion, of the federal government's business last year.

President Bush has issued at least 151 signing statements challenging 1,149 provisions of laws passed by Congress. Before 2000, presidents had signed fewer than 600 statements over the nation's 211-year history.

The Defense Department has more than doubled in real terms the amount it spends on classified weapons acquisitions since 1995. While the number of classification decisions actually dropped by 10 percent to 231,995 last year, the number of documents related to each one of those decisions ballooned to 20.3 million, up by 43 percent.

And those figures do not include the untold number of documents that are locked away by federal agencies in categories known as "pseudo-classification." These are unclassified documents that government bureaucrats deem too sensitive for public consumption. There is no oversight of these categories to ensure that the documents should be removed from the public domain.

The report also found that the Bush administration has invoked a legal tool known as the "state secrets" privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.

Between 1977 and 2000, administrations used the privilege 59 times. Over the past six years, the White House has invoked the privilege 38 times, more than double the rate of administrations during that time frame.
That emphasis is mine. Read it all, but take your Tums first.

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