Report Says US Data Secrecy Expanding and Getting Costlier

Expenses rose to $7.2b in 2004

By Michael J. Sniffen, Associated Press | September 4, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The government is withholding more data than ever from the public and expanding ways of shrouding information. Last year, federal agencies spent a record $148 creating and storing new secrets for each $1 spent declassifying old secrets, a coalition of watchdog groups reported yesterday.

That's a $28 jump from 2003, when $120 was spent to keep secrets for every $1 spent revealing them. In the late 1990s, the ratio was $15-$17 a year to $1, according to the secrecy report card by

Overall, the government spent $7.2 billion in 2004 stamping 15.6 million documents 'top secret,' 'secret,' or 'confidential.' That almost doubled the 8.6 million new documents classified as recently as


Last year, the number of pages declassified declined for the fourth straight year to 28.4 million. In 2001, 100 million pages were declassified; the record was 204 million pages in 1997.

These figures cover 41 federal agencies, excluding the CIA, whose classification totals are secret.

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Monty Solomon
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