America now has an Unofficial Secrets Act.I have commented on this concern, our government using secrecy to deprive us of our rights, several times before, including "A look at some of the costs of secrecy - Newtonian Secrecy: Analyzing Secrecy in Public Policy Decisions". This is scary stuff. This is worth worrying about. The denial of access to information such as what chemicals are in the holding tanks down the street or across town, is frightening enough, but not even being able to look at our laws??!!
In an unprecedented and unwise expansion of government secrecy, the Department of Homeland Security has begun swearing its employees to silence, criminalizing the disclosure of information to the public – even if it is not classified. Such an expansion harms security, rather than improves it, and – this is nothing to sneeze at – strikes at our democracy and constitutional rights.
By forcing employees to sign mundanely titled "non-disclosure agreements," the department makes this message clear: "Shut up or you'll suffer."
If employees violate the agreement, they could lose their jobs and suffer civil or criminal penalties. These gag agreements are one way that excessive government secrecy will be enforced.
What's an example of information that the public can't know? The law.
Last month, while at the Boise, Idaho, airport, former Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho, was pulled aside for a security pat-down. Hage asked what regulation authorized the screening. Homeland Security personnel refused to tell her.
Local security director Julian Gonzalez said the regulation "is called 'sensitive security information.' She's not allowed to see it, nor is anyone else."