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FROM THIS EPISODE

A survey shows that increasing numbers of Americans think the federal government has become cloaked in secrecy. Last week, the House passed four so-called "sunshine" laws, two of which President Bush has threatened to veto. Does secrecy destroy confidence in represented government? In times of war, is it best to err "on the side of caution?"  Plus, the Senate votes to rescind the president's unilateral power to replace federal prosecutors and, on Reporter's Notebook, the UN and Iraq's humanitarian crisis.

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Vanessa Romo

Main Topic Is Our Government Keeping Too Many Secrets? 34 MIN, 26 SEC

Bill Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, ordered that government agencies should tell American citizens what they wanted to know, as long as it would "do no harm."  After September 11, John Ashcroft changed the standard to tell the public less, rather than more, saying he would defend in court any legal argument against releasing information.  While the argument is that, especially in times of war, it's best to err on the side of caution, critics contend that too much secrecy is counterproductive and destroys the openness that leads to trust in representative government.  Last week, the House passed what's called "sunshine" legislation.  If it passes the Senate, the White House threatens a presidential veto. We talk about privacy, national security--and political embarrassment.

Guests:
Patrice McDermott, Director of Open the Government
Pete Weitzel, Coordinator for the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government
Robert Dallek, Presidential historian
David Rivkin, Washington attorney and an expert on national security law (@DavidRivkin)

Reporter's Notebook UN Says Iraqi Refugee Crisis Going Unnoticed 8 MIN, 45 SEC

Before the Iraq war began, the Pentagon was planning for a mass exodus of refugees.  When the initial invasion went so fast, that was one of the many predictions that did not come true.  Now, after years of deadly violence, it has. The UN's refugee agency says there's been "abject denial" of Iraq's humanitarian crisis by the rest of the world. Tim Irwin, spokesman for the UN's High Commissioner on Refugees, says some 50,000 people are fleeing their homes every month, ending up in Jordan, Syria and other parts of Iraq.

Guests:
Tim Irwin, Spokesman for the UN Refugee Agency

Making News Senate Votes to End President's Power to Name Prosecutors 5 MIN, 52 SEC

The Senate has voted 94-to-2 to rescind the President's unilateral power to replace US attorneys.  Meantime, Mr. Bush called Alberto Gonzales this morning to reaffirm what the White House called "strong backing" of his Attorney General.   Evan Perez covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal.

Guests:
Evan Perez, Wall Street Journal (@evanperez)

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