OMB Watch Releases Report on Secrecy Labeling of Government Information
Last week OMB Watch released Controlled Unclassified Information: Recommendations for Information Control Reform. The report reviews the history of the federal bureaucracy's unorganized and inconsistent labeling of "sensitive but unclassified" (SBU) information (also referred to as CUI - controlled unclassified information) and current efforts to increase information sharing by standardizing the use of labels on terrorism related information, and makes recommendations for the new administration to minimize the use of these labels while still safeguarding sensitive information.
Constitution Project, POGO, Team Up to Brief Staff, Public on Congressional Oversight Rights and Responsibilities
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and the Constitution Project have recently released handbooks that outline the relative powers of Congress and the executive branch in congressional oversight and why such authority is vital to our system of government. The two organizations brief Congressional staffers last week and on Thursday, July 16 will be marking their release with a panel discussion that is open to the public at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. More information about the public discussion is available here.
Last week the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) held a public hearing at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to hear recommendations from the public on the review of Executive Order 12958, as amended, "Classified National Security Information." Before taking comments, PIDB members briefly reviewed comments received at the Declassification Policy Forum, a blog hosted by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that allows users to comment on four policy areas: declassification policy, creation of a National Declassification Center, classification policy, and technology challenges and opportunities. In response to concern expressed by OpenTheGovernment.org and others about the tight time frame originally planned for accepting comments (only three days per topic), the dates have been extended. Users have until July 19 to comment on any section of the blog; recommendations can also be emailed to email@example.com.
On July 6, OpenTheGovernment.org joined with several of our coalition partners in sending a letter to the chairmen of the House committees with primary jurisdiction over health care reform legislation asking they include strong protections for private sector healthcare workers who challenge fraud, waste, abuse, or violations of the standards and controls. The letter, organized by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), specifically requests they expand the scope of provisions in the discussion draft for narrower groups of workers such as employees of skilled nursing home facilities in the interest both of containing costs by reducing fraud and improving the safety and quality of patient care.