Politics & Government

June 7, 2013 6:11 PM

In setting limits of secrecy, Congress has taken a back seat

When Sen Ron Wyden, D-Ore., stepped to the Senate floor last December, he had something on his mind. He was disturbed by what he’d learned about the way the executive branch had used a section of the USA Patriot Act to collect records from millions of Americans’ phones. But he didn’t feel free to tell the American people what he knew. Congress prides itself on being the most open of the three branches of government, where business is conducted publicly and constituents are welcome to watch. But the phone records controversy shows that even among the elected representatives of the people, secrecy can overcome open discussions of public policy.

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