New secrecy limits threaten liberty

It is understandable that the armed forces, the nation’s intelligence agencies and the White House want to avoid disclosure of information that may be harmful to national security. But too often, secrets kept by the government have less to do with security than keeping Americans in the dark about surveillance of millions of us.

Learning about government abuses is about to become even more difficult. Last week, President Barack Obama’s administration revealed a directive with new limits on the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies’ contacts with the press.

Only “authorized personnel” are even allowed to talk with reporters.

And here’s the kicker: The directive applies to unclassified intelligence information – the kind even the government admits is not harmful to national security.

Several presidents, both Republican and Democrat, have been obsessed with secrecy. In some ways, Obama has taken that to new levels – often on matters that have nothing to do with security.

National security is one thing. But what about our personal security as Americans to know our liberties are not being stripped away by a secretive government?

Much has been written of political bickering and “gridlock” in both state and federal governments. But sometimes, the politicians join hands to get important things done.

It has been pointed out lives could be saved if schools, youth camps and coaches had “pens” used to administer epinephrine shots available. The shots are used to counter severe allergic reactions.

When such reactions occur, time is of the essence. Quick administration of an epinephrine shot can be the difference between life and death.

Ohio parents can send epinephrine pens to school with their children. But in the past, school personnel, even nurses, could not give the drug to children.

That has changed. Though schools are not required to stock epinephrine, a bill signed into law last week by Gov. John Kasich eliminates several barriers to educators having and using them.

The measure was approved unanimously in both houses of the General Assembly.

Credit where it’s due: Sometimes the politicians get it right.