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Opening Doors at the Department of Justice

On April 8 OpenTheGovernment.org and a number of our partners sat down with Tony West, the Associate Attorney General (the number three person at the Department of Justice DOJ),  to discuss areas where we believe DOJ could take significant steps to make the department more open and accountable. 

Groups Outline Recommendations for DOJ Openness

On April 8th, representatives from several openness groups met with Tony West, Associate Attorney General at the Departmetn of Justice. In a letter thanking Mr. West for his time and efforts to improve the Freedom of Information Act, these groups reiterated their recommendations for the DOJ. The letter is available here. 

OTG at 10: Working Across Sectors

In the video below, Conrad Martin of the Fund for Constitutional Government (OTG's fiscal sponsor) discusses our work across sectors and importance going forward. 

Statement on SSCI Vote for Declassification of Torture Report

OpenTheGovernment.org applauds the members and staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) for today’s bipartisan vote to begin declassification of the Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. We urge the President to fulfill his promise to swiftly declassify the material that the committee has submitted for declassification review. In order for that review to be meaningful, the President must ensure that the CIA abandons its prior position that the details of individual detainees’ torture are classified “sources and methods,” and abandons any attempt to interfere with the committee’s oversight.

"We hope that today’s vote marks the first step towards declassification of the full SSCI report, and the beginning of the end of more than a decade of excessive secrecy about torture," said Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. "The American people have a right to know what their government does in their name."

OTG at 10: Discussing the Coalition's Founding and Future at the Newseum

The Freedom of Information Day celebration kicked off with a discussion about OpenTheGovernment.org's founding, achievements, and future. Watch the video of the panel below. 

Open Government Partnership Updates

The Open Government Partnership is an international platform that requires member countries to develop national action plans to make progress on open government initiatives. Government officials must collaborate with civil society organizations (CSO) to develop and implement the plans.

OTG at 10: Setting Openness Priorities

OpenTheGovernment.org officially launched during Sunshine Week in 2004, but the discussions about secrecy and the need for a united openness front began long before. On May 8th, we will celebrate our anniversary and release a video about OpenTheGovernment.org. But as a preview of the celebration, we will post clips from the interviews we've conducted with our founders and supporters. 

In the video below, Gary Bass, Executive Director of the Bauman Foundation and OTG co-founder, discusses how OTG worked with its partners to set concrete priorities for the new Obama administration.

Join the New Federal Open Government Discussion Group

The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently launched a new Federal Open Government Discussion Group to create space for open government advocates from inside and outside the government to collaborate on issues. The group is open to anyone and intended to support on-going discussions about U.S. Federal open government efforts, including the Open Government Partnership, Federal agency Open Government Plans, the Freedom of Information Act, and other related issues. The list is co-moderated by OSTP and OpenTheGovernment.org. To join, visit the group page and request to be added.

OTG at 10: Tom Blanton on OTG's Beginnings

OpenTheGovernment.org officially launched during Sunshine Week in 2004, but the discussions about secrecy and the need for a united openness front began long before. On May 8th, we will celebrate our anniversary and release a video about OpenTheGovernment.org. But as a preview of the celebration, we will post clips from the interviews we've conducted with our founders and supporters. 

Break-ins, Leaks, and Breaking News: Intelligence Reforms, Past & Present

During the Nation FOI Day Celebration at the Newseum on Friday, March 14 we brought together a panel of reporters and policy-makers to talk past and present leaks of information about US surveillance programs, the effects on society in these cases, and resulting reforms in intelligence policy and practice. In particular, panelists discussed the similarities and differences between the 1971 break-in to the Media, PA FBI Field Office, which eventually contributed to the creation of the Church Committee, and the revelations made by Edward Snowden, which has already spawned some reform efforts in Congress. Below are a few of our major take-aways from the program and video of the panel.

The Classified Section

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

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