Secrecy no more? The first major overhaul of the Freedom of Information act in years is awaiting President Bush's signature. It will finally create an "independent" government agency to handle to disputes between records holders and information requesters. The passage of the act comes after, ironically, after an Arizona senator used a "secret hold" to block the bill. He was ferreted out by a group of journalists.
A senator places a secret hold on a bill designed to counter secrecy in government. The Society of Professional Journalists, which supports the bill, smoked out Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) as the source of the hold, one of the more obscure parliamentary tactics possible in the Senate. The bill in question is the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which is an overhaul of the Freedom of Information Act. (See also.) Kyl claims the bill would force the release of "sensitive information." Kyl is also behind a measure that would criminalize the leaking of classified information.