Sometimes the government has to keep secrets in order to keep people safe. But Steven Aftergood with the Federation of American Scientists says too often, the government wrongly classifies information that should be open to the public. Aftergood is speaking at the University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Building at 4:30 pm. He's expected to talk about how government secrecy plays into current controversies like the government's domestic surveillance program, the detention of suspected enemy combatants, and long-term plans for Iraq.
Aftergood says the government spends about $9 billion annually keeping secrets. If it's justified, he says that's money well-spent. But he believes the government too often keeps secrets to hide its own incompetence. He also believes government secrecy has been increasing over the last decade. After the 9-11 attacks, he says people were willing to accept more secrecy in government in the name of safety. But he thinks public opinion shifted as opposition grew against U.S. policy in Iraq.