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The government can't hide…cool Wired links

If you’re an information junkie like me, the Internet is just a dream…you can research just about with a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. However, I didn’t know about these cool links posted in an article today on Wired . It really is a treasure trove of links to government-related information, some that Bushies wouldn’t want you to see.

For starters, there’s Google’s little-known government specific search engine. Those proficient with crafting search terms can find Attorney General John Ashcroft’s office number, gee-whiz nanotechnology movies and NASA’s Microgravity Man comic strip. One can even find homeland security alerts about truck bombs (PDF) and the intelligence needs of the FBI.

Another trove of information is George Washington University’s National Security Archive, which contains thousands of documents acquired through patient Freedom of Information Act requests. And there’s CoolGov, a blog devoted to ferreting out quirky tidbits such as videos of airline crashes.

Those interested in the nitty-gritty of how and why the government hides information can subscribe to Stephen Aftergood’s Secrecy News listserv, which is part of his work as the director of Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy.

Aftergood, who publishes a couple times a week, has built up an archive of previously unpublished reports created for Congress and information about the CIA’s ongoing opposition to the publication of its budget.

Chris Hoofnagle, a lawyer for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (which is known for its prowess with Freedom of Information Act requests), calls Aftergood’s work a must-read for anyone interested in a “nuanced interpretation of government information policy.” Aftergood uses FOIA requests only sparingly though, calling them cumbersome, relying instead on contacts and tips.

Russ Kick keeps information alive at The Memory Hole, where he archives documents pulled from government websites. He is famous for successfully using FOIA to obtain and publish photos of American soldiers’ coffins being unloaded at the Dover Air Force Base.

John Young, a New York City architect, has been running the encyclopedic Cryptome since 1996, when he was inspired by the Cypherpunk mailing list to start learning about dual-use government technology.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding