The Center for Grassroots Oversight

This page can be viewed at http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=civilliberties_278


Context of '1984: Former Nixon Official Warns about Excessive Government Secrecy'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event 1984: Former Nixon Official Warns about Excessive Government Secrecy. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

President Nixon eliminates the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP), and transfers its functions to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The GSA will take over the agency’s civil defense, continuity of government, resource management, and other emergency preparedness functions, while HUD will be responsible for disaster preparedness and relief. (Message of the President 1/26/1973; Richard M. Nixon 6/27/1973 pdf file; Wing and Walton 1/1980, pp. 35; B. Wayne Blanchard 2/5/2008, pp. 18) Similar emergency planning responsibilities are held by the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, which was established by Nixon within the Department of Defense in May 1972 (see May 5, 1972).

William Rogers.William Rogers. [Source: Stephen Ferry / Viewimages]William Rogers, former secretary of state under Richard Nixon, observes, “The public should view excessive secrecy among government officials as parents view sudden quiet where youngsters are playing. It is a sign of trouble.” (Dean 2004, pp. xi)

J. William Leonard, the director of the National Archives Information Security Oversight Office, tells a House subcommitte that it is “no secret that the government classifies too much information” (see March 25, 2003). Leonard warns that this culture of overarching secrecy puts everyone at risk. Excessive secrecy makes it difficult for agencies to share information that might help to prevent terrorist attacks, he says, and can “serve as an impediment to sharing information with another agency, or with the public, who have a genuine need-to-know for the information.” (Savage 2007, pp. 163)


Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike