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In This Issue:
News from Coalition Partners & Others
I. Dangerous Package of "Anti-Leaks" Provisions Stalls in the Senate
II. Making FOIA Libraries Useful for Requesters: Share Your Ideas on January 22
NEW: Coalition Job
On November 21, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press published its seasonal journal, News Media and the Law. The journal features analysis of the secrecy surrounding electronic surveillance, executive privilege’s context and complications, and the use of FOIA exemptions following the Milner decision.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington joined with the Brave New Foundation to produce Strategic Maneuvers, a report and short film that detail the extent of the Pentagon’s revolving door. CREW and the foundation found that between 2009 and 2011, 70 percent of 3 and 4-star generals were hired to lucrative positions by defense contractors or consultants.
The dangerous “anti-leaks” provisions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Intelligence Authorization bill hit a snag last week when Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) placed a hold on the bill. Senator Wyden aims to delay passage of the bill until the Senate either fixes some of the problematic provisions, or there is an open amendment process on the floor.
Twenty-seven organizations concerned with openness and accountability joined OpenTheGovernment.org on a letter thanking Senate Leadership for delaying action on the bill and supporting Senator Wyden’s efforts to ensure the bill is not passed without thoughtful debate and amendment.
We've written previously about the effect particular provisions of the bill would have on freedom of speech and the ability of the public to have an understanding of and informed debate about our government’s actions. We continue to oppose Title V of the bill as drafted. While we recognize the need to prevent leaks of appropriately and properly classified information, the American public also requires access to some information about government conduct in order to foster an informed and meaningful national discussion.
On Tuesday, January 22 the Office of Information Policy (OIP) at the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration will host the first FOIA Requester Roundtable of the new year. The purpose of these forums is to bring together government officials who administer the FOIA with people who request records under the FOIA to discuss problematic issues with the FOIA process in order to share ideas and increase understanding of the issues that face all of the involved parties.
The session on January 22 will focus on how to make FOIA Libraries useful from the requester's perspective. Each agency is required to maintain a FOIA Library, or "E-Reading Room," where they post frequently requested records and other categories of records. There is a great deal of variation among agencies in how these FOIA Libraries are set-up and organized, and requesters often report having a hard time locating what they want on these pages.
Click here for information on how to RSVP for the January 22 event, and to make a note of other dates that have been scheduled for sessions.
CREW promotes ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests.