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PNS Daily News - December 11, 2019 


U.S. House to vote on two articles of impeachment; $1.4 trillion in planned oil & gas development said to put the world in "bright red level" of climate crisis; anti-protest legislation moves forward in Ohio; "forest farming" moves forward in Appalachia; and someone's putting cowboy hats on pigeons in Nevada.

2020Talks - December 11, 2019 


18 years ago today, China joined the WTO. Now, China's in a trade war with the U.S. Also, House Democrats and the Trump administration made a deal to move forward with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

Report: TN and Fed Governments Keeping More Secrets

September 4, 2007

According to a new report, the government is keeping an increasing number of secrets from the public, on both the state and federal levels.

Report coauthor Patrice McDermott, with the watchdog group OpenTheGovernment.org, says so-called "National Security Letters" are an example of secrecy about which Tennesseans should be concerned. The letters authorize all kinds of information to be gathered without judicial oversight; they permit homes and businesses to be searched without a person's knowledge or consent. McDermott says perhaps the worst part about the letters is that, even if a person is innocent of wrongdoing, whatever information is obtained can stay on file permanently.

"At any time, an individual could be targeted because their name was mentioned in one of these National Security Letter investigations."

She claims at least 200,000 National Security Letters have already been used to gather information, although the government is keeping the exact number secret. The Tennessee legislature has passed several "secrecy" bills in the name of terrorist attack preparation, which she says can be a legitimate reason for the government to keep information under wraps.

Another growing trend cited in the report is the tendency for government contracts to be secretly awarded. McDermott explains this can lead to abuse when companies overcharge for their services. Such instances have already made headlines during investigations into contracts for the Hurricane Katrina cleanup and the war in Iraq.

For more information on McDermott's report, visit www.openthegovernment.org.

Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Public News Service - TN