TCOG’s Gibson criticizes censorship of report on fire at military flare plant

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government Executive Director Frank Gibson is among those who have spoken out against the heavy censorship by the state of a report on last year’s fire at the Kilgore Flares plant in West Tennessee. The fire injured six people, some of them severely.

About half of the 19-page report on the fire was blacked out by the state before it was released, the Jackson Sun reported. The state said it was censored due to national security concerns. The plant makes decoy flares intended to be fired by U.S. Air Force and Navy combat aircraft to deflect incoming missiles from enemy attackers.

From the Sun story:

But Frank Gibson, of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, said he thinks the report should be released in its entirety.

“Richard Nixon thought the (secrecy of the) Pentagon papers were of national importance also,” he said, “But they ended up being printed.

“Since this is a major incident,” he said, “and they have been found guilty and been fined, what would be the legal basis for withholding that information?”

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