SPJ national update: Increasing government secrecy cost $7.2 billion last year; Supreme secrecy; and spy on you. A record 15.6 million documents were classified last year, nearly double the number in 2001, according to the federal Information Security Oversight Office. Declassification, which made millions of historical documents available annually in the 1990s, has slowed from a high of 204 million pages in 1997 to 28 million pages last year. More here. ... The White House cites attorney-client privilege as the basis for refusing to reveal memos written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. when he represented the government before the high court. At the time, Roberts was the top deputy to Solicitor General Ken Starr. But it is not clear that this legal privilege shields the work of government lawyers from government investigators, thanks to a legal ruling won by Starr himself, when he was independent counsel investigating President Clinton. More here and here and here and here. ... The House voted July 21 to extend permanently all but two of the major antiterrorism provisions of the USA Patriot Act after repelling efforts by Democrats and some Republicans to impose restrictions on the government's power to eavesdrop, conduct secret searches and demand library records. Sixteen provisions in the law are set to expire at the end of the year. This sets the stage for what could be difficult negotiations with the Senate, which is considering several very different bills to extend the government's counterterrorism powers. More here.