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Reducing Secrecy

Excessive secrecy has long been a problem in the fields of national and homeland security because it limits information sharing and leaves us less safe as a nation. Both the 9/11 Commission and the congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 recommended reforms to reduce unnecessary secrets. OpenTheGovernment.org works with our partners, the Administration, and Congress to put policies in place that both protect constitutional rights and ensure national security by better protecting real secrets and improving information sharing.

What's the Legal Basis for Strikes in Syria?

Last night, the United States began bombing targets in Syria. Whatever the policy merits of these strikes, there are crucial unanswered questions about their legal justification.

Four Members of Congress join OpenTheGovernment.org and Other Groups In Seeking End to Secret Legal Interpretations of Executive Order 12333

OpenTheGovernment.org, four members of Congress, and over forty other civil society organizations wrote to President Obama and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) asking for a thorough investigation of the NSA’s surveillance under Executive Order 12333. The letter, organized by Access, states in part:

Congress Must Reform Itself to Change the CIA's Culture of Secrecy

Last week we, together with our partner the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and others, called on President Obama to request CIA Director John Brennan's resignation. This request was made in light of the disturbing confirmation that CIA employees improperly accessed records of investigators from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the CIA's lack of candor about the situation.

Congressmen Introduce Legislation to Reform Classification, Security Clearances

Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Bennie G. Thompson introduced the Clearance and Over-Classification Reform and Reduction Act (CORRECT Act) in July. The legislation would, among other things, strengthen the Public Interest Declassification Board and require the President to set a goal to reduce classification by 10 percent or more in five years. The bill text (H.R.

OTG Responds to Cybersecurity Bill in the Washington Post

On July 20th, the Washington Post published Executive Director Patrice McDermott’s letter to the editor, responding to a July 13th Post

Unanswered Questions in the CIA-Senate Dispute

The Department of Justice has announced that it will not launch full-fledged investigations into either the CIA’s allegations that Senate staffers mishandled classified information in the course of writing their study of CIA torture, or Senator Dianne Feinstein’s allegations that the CIA unlawfully spied on Senate staff.

Journalist Groups Urge President Obama to Increase Transparency

Thirty-seven groups, including OpenTheGovernment.org, joined the Society of Professional Journalists to urge President Obama to reverse the decades-long decline of press access to agencies and the executive offices. The groups note:

ODNI’s Transparency Report: What It Tells Us, and What it Doesn’t

The following is cross-posted from The Classified SectionOpenTheGovernment.org's new blog on national security secrecy. 

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released some statistics on its use of surveillance authorities, fulfilling a promise made last August 30 and reiterated in the White House’s Open Government National Action Plan in December. (They are also essentially the same statistics that the House-passed version of the USA FREEDOM Act requires the DNI to publish—a sign of the extent to which the intelligence community rewrote that bill before it passed the House.)

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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