Obama is forcing DOD officials to sign a privacy agreement that will keep the details of the 2010 defense budget out of the hands of average Americans—and of course, the media.
The Obama administration has directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government.
In an undated non-disclosure agreement obtained by Defense News, the administration tells defense officials that “strict confidentiality” must be practiced to ensure a “successful” and “proper” 2010 defense budget process.
I wasn’t aware that budget details for non-classified programs were secret. So I asked reader Mike (who sent me the article), a former federal worker, if this kind of non-disclosure agreement is standard. He says:
What makes this unusual is this is the first time such a “pledge” being asked concerning open budgeting matters. Not a real concern as the congressmen and staffers on whatever committees that over see the DoD budgets will leak every detail. Makes me wonder if the current administration’s plans for a 10% cut in DoD budget is just a beginning.
All federal employees are expected to follow normal confidentiality/secrecy procedures. Sensitive jobs require signed documents. All of us at the agency signed such (to the tune of 10 years and $100,000 fine). Lots of security agreements are put in place for any number of projects. Private industry has such employee agreements and I’m sure you have such an understanding with your employers.
Yes, I’ve signed many non-disclosure agreements. But this is about what should be a matter of public record, not classified details. In fact, it’s already in the public record:
The Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget have agreed on a fiscal 2010 defense budget top line figure of $537 billion. That level is nearly $50 billion lower than the $585 billion defense plan created during the final months of the Bush administration, and $24 billion higher than the already enacted $513 billion 2009 defense budget.
Maybe the Obama administration is not the change we’ve been waiting for. Why does he want to keep the budget details secret?
The secrecy pact comes as dozens of Bush-era Pentagon appointees remain on the job, asked to stay on by the Obama administration until replacements are confirmed to ensure continuity during wartime.
Secrecy really does seem to be the Democrat’s word of the year. Card check—no secret ballots for American workers. Defense budget—keep it secret from Americans.
The administration is requiring defense officials to promise they will not divulge the kinds of information covered in the document “to any individual not authorized to receive it.”
“Under no circumstances will I disclose such information outside the Department of Defense and other government agencies directly involved in the defense planning and resource-allocation process, such as the Office of Management and Budget,” the agreement said.
Now, I understand not revealing budget details that are classified. But this doesn’t look like it’s a standard non-disclosure agreement. This looks like it’s an agreement to not disclose any budget details, period. Can any of my readers tell me if this is a standard procedure in the DoD?
And if not: President Obama—aren’t Americans entitled to know what’s in the defense budget for 2010? What are you afraid we’ll discover?