Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the way our gargantuan federal government is run. I think both the left and the conservatives, as well as all of us in between those two, often get frustrated over how taxpayer dollars are spent or stolen.
At present we are all ignoring a major risk to our country.
The risk is revealed by Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. Watchdog group JW announced on April 12:
“…a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for communications sent or received by EPA officials who may have used the cell phone encryption application “Signal” to thwart government oversight and transparency. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. Environmental Protection Agency (No. 1:17-cv-00533)).
The lawsuit was filed after the EPA failed to respond to Judicial Watch’s February 3, 2017 FOIA request…”
Bureaucrats in the EPA have allegedly used encryption software to trade messages and information. Why? So no one can determine what they’re up to.
JW noted in a news release:
“TechCrunch.com advised, “Don’t want someone else handing your text messages, pictures, video or phone conversations over to the government? There’s an app for that. An iOS app called Signal is a project out of Open Whisper Systems, a not-for-profit collective of hackers dedicated to making it harder for prying government eyes to get a hold of your information.”
Why would federal employees want to keep secret communications that mostly have nothing to do with national security? Such a practice gives much credence to the ‘Deep State’ allegations tossed around by opponents of authoritarianism and credible opponents of fascism. If bureaucrats don’t answer to ‘We, the people,” who do you think they answer to?
Even if JW succeeds in the lawsuit, much of the material requested may have simply vanished into galaxies beyond cyberspace.
No good can come of a government whose unionized employees, largely voting as a bloc for a single political party, can conduct messaging and business in darkness. Such practices represent a risk to the Republic as great as any terrorist threat.
Philosophically speaking, it seems to me that all federal records, except extremely sensitive records having to do with national security or military operations, should be readily available to taxpayers. It seems to me that any information or communication generated on taxpayers’ dollars comprises intellectual property that belongs to all of us.
President Donald Trump has pledged to reform the federal bureaucracy. I believe a large component of that structure has gone rogue. It is way past time to do something about it, and I hope reform is a promise Trump will keep.
The worst action John F. Kennedy took as president was his executive order permitting collective bargaining for federal employees. The taxpayer has no viable representation in curtailing a bureaucracy gone rogue. JFK’s action was an epic quid pro quo for his union allies whose efforts, some extremely suspect, enabled him to capture the White House.
Meanwhile, FOIA should be broadened. The same property rights should apply to information generated by Congress and the Judicial Branch as well.
At present, communications in the private sector are smartly conducted as though someone is looking over your shoulder, specifically some government employee targeting you or your company. In a free republic, it should be the other way around.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/April 13, 2017)