Secrecy Surrounds America’s WTO Deal
By Staff
A journalist hoping to discover the details of a recent compensation deal signed by the US for its withdrawal from World Trade Organisation gambling agreements has been told that these are being kept secret for reasons of national security.

While writing a story on just what compensation the United States would have to pay Canada, Japan and the European Union, freelance journalist Ed Brayton pursued details on the issue and wanted to know just what concessions the US had made. After receiving no answers from the US Trade Representative, Brayton filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the agreement.

Brayton hoped to discover just how much America’s stance on not allowing its citizens to gamble online was costing ordinary American citizens but his request was refused with an explanation that the information was classified.

'Please be advised that the document you seek is being withheld in full pursuant to 5 USC § 552(b)(1), which pertains to information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958,” read the response to Brayton’s request from the US Trade Representative.

'The United States Government is claiming that its attempt to restrict Americans from gambling online is so important that their efforts are a matter of national security,” said Brayton.

“Whatever under-the-table deals they make that might cost taxpayers billions of dollars can be classified and hidden from public scrutiny as if they were nuclear launch codes.

Americans, according to this administration, have no right to know how many billions of our tax dollars they've spent with no legislative authorisation whatsoever in order to buy the co-operation of other nations and allow them to continue to violate the rights of American adults by preventing them from gambling in the privacy of their own home.'

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