The Associated Press
updated 9/17/2003 3:09:14 PM ET 2003-09-17T19:09:14

President Bush, whose administration has been criticized for excessive secrecy, on Wednesday gave his White House science adviser authority to classify information as “top secret.”

WHITE HOUSE spokeswoman Claire Buchan had no specific explanation for the decision. The director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is John Marburger.

“Throughout the government there are individuals who have the authority to classify information at various levels,” Buchan said. A spokeswoman for the science office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Academic leaders have generally opposed government proposals made in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States to impose greater secrecy on scientific research, saying they could stifle scientific discoveries.

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