Feb 04, 2009, 10:34AM

Cracking open government

Open government advocates are pretty confident—so far—in the Obama administration.

Careful optimism:

That doesn't mean they're breaking out the champagne just yet, however, since as McDermott noted, "memos are wonderful... but actually getting the agencies to do it and actually getting them implemented is another whole kettle of fish." Executive leadership is important, but it faces a culture of concealment in federal agencies that is as much a function of institutional incentives as formal directives. For example, when a report from the Government Accountability Office was supposedly found in a cave in Tora Bora, it "frightened the hell out of the executive branch of the government; they didn't want to be the one whose information was found in Al Qaeda's hands."


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