The Reagan administration's efforts to stop news leaks go far beyond the White House. Career officials report that Reaganauts in top federal agency positions have mounted tough campaigns to crack down on dissent within the ranks.
Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Buford laid things on the line in a Sept. 23 memo to all his employes: "It is inappropriate for a bureau employe to express personal opinions... if they differ from the administration position." Commerce Department information chief Mary Nimmo told her agency's people late last month: "Contact me or Deputy Secretary [Joseph] Wright before talking to the press -- otherwise, he will contact you afterward." (Both of these memos were leaked to the press immediately.)
Labor Department economists say they've been told bluntly not to return calls from reporters or congressional staffers. Environmental Protection Agency analysts say they've been warned that Administrator Anne Gorsuch is "fed up" with research that undermines administration proposals. One EPA careerist was ordered to write an "apology" after issuing a water pollution study that angered the brass.
In a classic Keystone Kops scene at Commerce last month, Secretary Malcolm Baldridge's aides chased a network camera crew down the halls to block a scheduled interview with a career bureaucrat. Baldrige's office feared that the employe would say something "embarrassing and damaging to... the White House," information chief Nimmo explained in the memo.