Skip to main content

Syndicate contentReducing Secrecy

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.

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.)

Cybersecurity Bill to Be Marked Up Includes New FOIA Exemption & Tie to Espionage Act

A cybersecurity bill from the leadership of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is scheduled for markup on Thursday.

Public Has Little Direct Access to Revisions Made to Supreme Court Decisions

What is the law of the land? It’s harder for the public to find out than it should be. OpenTheGovernment.org and its partners have pushed hard against secret interpretations of the law, calling for Office of Legal Counsel memos, significant FISA court opinions, and more to be made available to the public.  An upcoming Harvard Law Review article by Richard J. Lazarus shows that the Supreme Court plays its own role in obscuring the law from the public, detailing how many Supreme Court opinions have been edited and altered after they were issued, largely outside public view. 

Center for Democracy and Technology Testifies on Surveillance Reform

At a rare public Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing, the Center for Democracy and Technology detailed the need for lawmakers to address the weaknesses in the gutted USA Freedom Act passed by the House of Representatives.

FOUO and FOIA: Two Letters (Should) Make All the Difference

In 2010 transparency advocates welcomed an important new Executive Order that promised to phase out the use of confusing stamps like For Official Use Only (FOUO) and make sure that such markings were not used by agencies to deny the public access to information. However, as Patrice McDermott testified before a House subcommittee this week, intransigence and resistance from some agencies has drawn out the process so that it will be 2018, 2019 and beyond before agencies stop using these stamps. And, as we learned from a story posted by Jason Leopold on the Guardian earlier this week, the public is still not seeing the benefits that should have begun almost immediately. What should the government do to make sure agencies are not using the delay in implementation to keep information from the public?

Groups Support Schiff-Jones Drone Transparency Amendment

Today the House Rules Committee will decide which proposed amendments to the National Intelligence Authorization Act will be considered on the House floor. OpenTheGovernment.org and 18 other human rights, civil liberties and pro-transparency groups have written a letter to Congress in support of a bipartisan amendment by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) requiring annual reports on the number of militants and civilians killed in drone strikes. 

House Passes Hollowed-Out Version of USA FREEDOM Act

Last week, OpenTheGovernment.org and thirteen other organizations wrote to the House leadership and asked them to restore the government transparency provisions of the original USA FREEDOM Act in order to “to verify that the NSA actually ends bulk collection instead of finding new loopholes to exploit.” Instead, House leadership engaged in closed-door negotiations with the intelligence community, and introduced new loopholes into the bill’s priv

The Classified Section

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

Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes