Secrecy and Science

"Science has now become the leading edge of the [Bush Administration's] crackdown on public access to government information," according to the New York Times. The Administration has withdrawn from public access over 6,600 technical reports concerning biological and chemical weapons production on grounds that they might help terrorists or others develop weapons of mass destruction. The Bush Administration is also calling upon scientific societies to impose limits on their scientific publications. Critics warn that secrecy will undermine science by making it impossible to conduct peer review or independent replication of experimental results. According to the Secrecy News, "The Bush Administration's insistent efforts to expand the scope of official secrecy have now been widely noted as a defining characteristic of the Bush presidency, though these efforts are still only beginning to elicit a significant challenge in the form of litigation and mounting public skepticism."