No one has ever accused the Bush administration of being forthcoming. Even before it took power, its various spokespeople were celebrating tight-lippedness, promising to end the leaks that keep the press in business - and, to a large extent, American citizens informed. In short, we were told, the ascension of George W. Bush would usher in a new way of doing business, information-wise.
One might applaud the Bushies for truth in advertising - they said there would be less unauthorized information about its activities, and lo, there is less information. Vice President Dick Cheney, for instance, has prevented any interested eyes from seeing the details of his "energy plan" meetings, and White House spokesman Ari Fleischer has become a minor celebrity for his ability to speak for hours without revealing a thing. And the president himself has managed to get through almost two years of office, one terrorist attack and one-going-on-two wars with only a handful of press conferences and few non-scripted appearances.
But this penchant for secrecy has lately veered toward obfuscation, misdirection and the deliberate rewriting of history. Instead of saying nothing, the administration has taken a much more aggressive and, in the long run, harmful approach: deleting facts from reports and trying to influence or predetermine the outcome of intelligence, research and science.