The president who today made us safe from lighters in carry-on bags is an advocate for “personal stuff” privacy:
President Bush said on Thursday he does not send e-mail, not even to his twin daughters, because he fears “my personal stuff” would be made public.
About FOIA documents, Bush said, “I would hope that those who expose documents are wise about the difference between that which truly would jeopardize national security and that which should be read.” Just read that sentence twice, and it’ll become clear . . . more below . . .
“There has got to be a certain sense of privacy,” he told the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Bush volunteered his aversion to e-mail during a discussion on whether his administration is sufficiently responsive to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.
Advocates of greater openness in government charge the Bush administration has used the need to guard homeland security as an excuse to keep more information secret.
Bush said the government receives about 3.5 million FOIA requests a year and that he is for open government but does not want information released that could endanger lives.
“I would hope that those who expose documents are wise about the difference between that which truly would jeopardize national security and that which should be read,” he said.
Sean Moulton, of OMB Watch, “a group that tracks decisions by the White House Office of Management and Budget and other government agencies, said: ‘This is a government that is getting worse by the day in terms of permitting the public access to information and documents that they have paid for.'”
[Moulton] said all administrations have been difficult on the issue “but this administration is being extremely opportunistic with homeland security concerns and using that as an excuse to shut down public access.”
Bush has pressured Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow for greater freedom of the press in Russia. “We got to make sure our own press is free. I know that,” he said.
But when it comes to e-mail, Bush said he avoids it because “everything is investigated in Washington” and as a result “we’re losing a lot of history, not just with me, but with other presidents as well.”
Repeat: “[W]e’re losing a lot of history, not just with me, but with other presidents as well.”
Just read it over a couple times.