Secrecy Rules

An occasional series on rising government secrecy in Minnesota and across the country.

Part of a web page showing the page from the National Archives showing a listing of records released on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, in Washington, relati

Opening the JFK files would have been a triumph of transparency. If only.

Instead it confirmed to the cynics and conspiracy theorists that the government can never come clean.
President Donald Trump’s actions are bringing new energy and focus to transparency advocates, who are filing numerous lawsuits to preserve the statu

Trump White House confounds, confuses transparency advocates

October 28, 2017
Data purges and secrecy confounding transparency advocates.
Sara, who found but was unable to establish a relationship with her birth mother, still hopes to locate her birth father. ] MARK VANCLEAVE �

How Minnesota law prevents many adoptees from learning about their roots

August 19, 2017
Despite a nationwide movement to open up access to adoption records, Minnesota's laws place the privacy of birth parents ahead of the desire of adoptees to know their origins.

Minnesota veterans of the CIA's 'secret war' seek an honorable burial

July 16, 2017
A Brooklyn Park veteran of the CIA's "secret war" has been stymied by the federal government's refusal to hand over classified documents about its proxy army, or even acknowledge that they exist.

Inside one woman's fight to expose Minn. health care investigations

June 11, 2017
Sheila Van Pelt's yearslong campaign underscores the enormous challenges facing everyday citizens in an era when powerful interest groups push laws that ensure greater levels of secrecy.

Growing police tech arsenal watches criminals, citizens

June 9, 2017
Law enforcement agencies have more tools to gather information than ever before. Laws safeguarding that data and guaranteeing public access to it are failing to keep up.

Growing web of laws keeps Minnesotans in the dark

March 20, 2017
The state's public records law is riddled with hundreds of exceptions. Local governments and businesses are pushing to keep even more data secret.

The final cache of secret JFK records set for release this year

May 2, 2017
Documents that show what the government knows about John F. Kennedy's 1963 trip to Dallas have been kept secret for more than 50 years. Now, these records are among the remaining sealed documents about the JFK assassination set for release in coming months.

Gag order kept Bloomington's $45K settlement hush-hush

March 13, 2017
There's a reason the public didn't hear about the settlement last April in a lawsuit over "metadata."

Lawmakers fume over blacked-out MnDOT records

March 22, 2017
A House committee talked about subpoenas after transportation officials gave them heavily redacted budget records.

Lawmakers propose limiting access to day care enforcement records

March 18, 2017
Providers want to protect reputations, but families want enforcement data.

An annotated guide to the Minnesota state records you can't get

March 12, 2017
Wondering which state records are public and which aren't? Here's the definitive catalog of exemptions in the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.