The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has shut down its website. The state of Pennsylvania has decided to remove environmental information from its website. Risk management plans, which provide information about the dangers of chemical accidents and how to prevent them, have been removed from the web site of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
USA Today has joined a number of other news media outlets in criticizing Bush Administration restrictions on public access to information. "Americans are being asked to give up their rights to information, with no evidence that it presents any real risk," the editorial states. "Today, the Bush administration is packaging its attempts to restrict information as a way to protect the war effort -- when in fact they could do the opposite. The moves violate the very spirit of freedom that America is fighting for. ... Americans overwhelmingly support the war on terrorism.
According to the Dow Jones Newswire, the U.S. military has paid an undisclosed amount of money for the exclusive rights to commercial satellite imagery of Afghanistan and all time that the satellite is over areas involved in Operation Enduring Freedom. The contract with Denver-based Space Imaging Inc., which began Oct. 7, is believed to be in the multi-million dollar range. It prevents anyone from taking pictures of the war zone. By buying the exclusive rights, the U.S.
If the United States is embarking on the first war of the 21st century, and one that the president has said may be "secret even in success," then the damming up of information out of Washington is part of the strategy. Although the administration says it is not engaged in censorship, officials throughout the government readily say they have been ordered to be circumspect about their remarks. The caution extends even to the sanitizing of government Web sites -- including large-scale digital maps and a report on the poor security at some chemical plants.