The United States has faced an unprecedented rise in government secrecy over the last six years, according to a report released in July by and People For the American Way Foundation.

Government Secrecy: Decisions Without Democracy 2007 is an updated version of the 1987 primer on the expansion of executive power and government secrecy. The report explains the benefits of openness and the costs of excessive secrecy, and offers suggestions for what Congress and the public can do.

Over the past six years, President Bush has used executive orders to limit use of the Freedom of Information Act and Presidential Records Act, expanded the power to classify information for national security reasons, and created a range of new categories of “sensitive” information. In some cases, the government has gone so far as to reclassify documents that had been available to the general public for many years.

Read the whole report here.