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Yesterday the White House took a significant step towards fostering open and accountable government and fulfilling the promise of the Open Government Partnership by issuing a historic Presidential Policy Directive on Whistleblower Protections. The Open Government Partnership is an international effort to make more open, effective, and accountable. To become a member of OGP, participating countries, including the US, must embrace a high-level Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward.
Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, said, “Ensuring that that government employees, including those in the intelligence community, who expose waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality are protected from retaliation has been a priority for the open government community for many years. We were pleased to see the White House commit to exploring the use of executive branch authority as part of the US National Action Plan released last September, and are excited that the White House has actually exceeded its commitment by issuing this memo. The issuance of this directive indicates that the US government can step beyond consideration of open government principles and foster real change.”
A Progress Report released by OpenTheGovernment.org on September 20, the one year anniversary of the release of the US National Action Plan, shows how many of the commitments in the plan have already been fulfilled, and how much work is left to be done. We hope yesterday’s action by the White House indicates their intention to work beyond the limits of their own commitments, and take additional steps to make open government a reality.
Dr. McDermott continued, “Yesterday’s announcement would not have been possible without the tireless work of the White House and whistleblower advocates in our partner organizations, notably the Government Accountability Project – GAP and the Project On Government Oversight – POGO. We look forward to continuing to support efforts to push back the government’s culture of secrecy and the unaccountability it fosters.”