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To Fix House Intelligence Oversight, Change the Rules joined a diverse group of 50 organizations, whistleblowers, and former Congressional staffers calling on Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to support changes to the House of Representatives’ rules, to allow effective oversight on national security matters.

Commitment Analysis: Big Data Openness and Accountability in the Second National Action Plan

The following analysis is from Khaliah Barnes, Director of the Student Privacy Project and Administrative Law Counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

The Obama Administration’s Second Open Government National Action Plan aims to “use big data to support greater openness and accountability.” The Administration has committed to:

  • Enhance sharing of best practices on data privacy for state and local law enforcement;
  • Ensure privacy protection for big data analyses in health; and
  • Expand technical expertise in government to stop discrimination.

UPDATED: Failure of Speaker Boehner to Pass FOIA Reform

Statement of Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of

We are particularly concerned that Speaker Boehner has now said that he has “no knowledge of the plan” to pass the bipartisan, bicameral FOIA reform bill. If accountability and making the federal government answer to the public is really a priority for the Republican Caucus, passing this bill should be a priority. The House passed the House companion bill 410 – 0. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent after the open government community waged an all-out war against a last second attempt by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other independent agencies that are supposed to be on the public’s side to stop the bill. It’s up to Speaker Boehner to put this bill to a vote and create the levels of open government the public needs. We call on Speaker Boehner to work with Minority Leader Pelosi to pass S.2520 by unanimous consent.

Now or (Almost) Never for FOIA Reform

The House has an opportunity to pass a meaningful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill today that will force federal agencies to be more accountable to the public. While we understand that the bill, S. 2520, is jostling for position on the House schedule with many other pieces of legislation, we urge Congressional leadership to not miss this window of opportunity.

Big Week for Open and Accountable Government - December 9, 2014 Newsletter

– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– Breaking Open Government News: FOIA Reform Bill Moving & Senate Report on CIA Torture Released (more)
– President Obama Signs Presidential and Federal Records Bill (more) Statement on the Release of the Senate Torture Report's Executive Summary welcomes the long-overdue release of the Executive Summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s study of the CIA torture program. We were appalled by the 11th-hour attempt to intimidate Senator Feinstein and the Intelligence Committee out of releasing the report, and relieved that she resisted that pressure. The argument that government abuses cannot be revealed because of their severity is incompatible with the First Amendment, the rule of law, and accountable government.

OpenTheGovernment Welcomes Senate Passage of Bipartisan FOIA Reform warmly welcomes the Senate's passage of S. 2520, the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act, and thanks Chairman Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Member Grassley (R-IA), and Senator Cornyn (R-TX) for their tireless championship of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Statement on Senator Rockefeller's Hold on Bipartisan FOIA Bill

Statement of Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of

We encourage Senator Rockefeller to reconsider his hold on the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act, S. 2520, and release the bill as soon as possible. The benefits of this critical reform bill far outweigh any nebulous concerns about unintended consequences, all of which can be addressed by the Senate as they pass the bill. S. 2520 was passed unanimously by the Judiciary Committee and is set to be taken up by the House as soon as it clears the Senate. It is also widely supported by a range of groups that cross the political spectrum and represent a wide range of interests. Senator Rockefeller should not remain the sole holdout that stops our ability to make the federal government more open and accountable.

Office of Special Counsel Releases Open Government Plan; Some Required Plans Still Missing

Although it was not required to do so under the Open Government Directive, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently released its open government plan, spotlighting an initiative to prevent employer retaliation against whistleblowers.

The CIA's Oversight Committee Doesn't Want It Deleting Emails Either--UPDATED

Last month, and 16 other civil society groups wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to oppose a CIA request for additional authority to destroy emails.  This week, five members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) also raised alarm about the proposal, including Chairman Dianne Feinstein and Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss.

The Classified Section

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

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