Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bush Keeping Names of Govt. Employees Secret for First Time Since 1816

MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN, ASSOCIATED PRESS - Breaking a tradition of openness that began in 1816, the Bush administration has without explanation withheld the names and work locations of about 900,000 of its civilian workers, according to a lawsuit filed last week. "Citizens have a right to know who is working for the government," said Adina Rosenbaum, attorney for the co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research group at Syracuse University, which sued under the Freedom of Information Act to get the data.

President James Madison heads the first list of federal employees, published in 1816. The Bush administration is seeking to scale back such disclosures, a research group says in a lawsuit. Since 1989, TRAC has posted a database on the Internet with the name, work location, salary and job category of all 2.7 million federal civilian workers except those in some law enforcement agencies. The data are often used by reporters and government watchdog groups to monitor policies and detect waste or abuse.

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