ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The analysts at the Congressional Research Service do top-notch work on issues of U.S. government policy. American taxpayers pay for it. But they cannot look at the results, except through a remarkable network of subterfuge.
The latest glaring example of the problem is highlighted by Steve Aftergood, a government secrecy gadfly at the Federation of American Scientists. Aftergood and his colleagues maintain a remarkable archive of CRS reports, a sort of "after market" given that the U.S. government will not make them public directly.
On his blog today, Aftergood details the ruling by the military judge in the Hamdan case, in which the judge cites a CRS report in his ruling. And links to the FAS copy of the report, because there is no direct access:
By doing so, the Judge simultaneously highlighted the centrality of such CRS analyses to public discourse and the strange fact that these official documents are still not approved for direct release to the public.
Perhaps he also implicitly affirmed that FAS and other public interest publishers of CRS collections are helping to compensate for that continuing policy defect by providing the online access to CRS reports that Congress has denied.