Anonymous US officials extol government openness

Updated: 2011-09-20 09:51


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NEW YORK - President Barack Obama's administration sent two anonymous officials to brief reporters on Monday on an initiative designed to promote transparency and accountability by governments around the world.

Eight governments, including the United States, plan to release "national action plans" on the Internet describing how they intend to shed light on their operations, including such matters as how they spend public resources.

"As the old Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis used to say, sunlight is the best of disinfectants," said one of the senior US officials, who insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Open government is critical because it makes government accountable to the people," the official added. "If they can see in, they know what the like, what they don't like, and they can press for more or less."

Obama will discuss the US initiative at an event on Tuesday with officials from the other countries - Brazil, Britain, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines and South Africa - and from civil society groups.