Press Room

News Highlights - January 21, 2016

Don’t hide video of force-fed detainee
Case Study in Clarity
NSA Chief Stakes Out Pro-Encryption Position, in Contrast to FBI

U.S. will use facial recognition at airports

OpenTheGovernment.org's Statement on the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment

OpenTheGovernment.org strongly supports passage of Amendment 1889 to the NDAA, the McCain-Feinstein amendment. The amendment would seek to prevent the United States government from ever again engaging in torture, by requiring that:

--All interrogations by the United States government, including by the CIA, must comply with the standards in the Department of Defense’s Field Manual on Interrogation

OpenTheGovernment.org and POGO Oppose Efforts to Further Weaken USA Freedom Act

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act expired on Sunday, May 31 at midnight, several hours after the Senate voted 77 to 17 to begin debate on the USA Freedom Act. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and OpenTheGovernment.org expressed support for Congress’s refusal to re-authorize an illegal surveillance program without major reforms. Both organizations strongly oppose Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempts to further weaken the USA Freedom Act through the amendment process. Dr.

The Need for Secrecy Reform to Prevent CIA Abuses

The Guardian has published an op-ed by OpenTheGovernment.org's national security fellow, Katherine Hawkins, on the need to reform the classification system to prevent abuses like those documented in the Senate torture report.  An excerpt is below, and the full text is available on the Guardian's website.

21 Groups: Leahy's USA Freedom Bill Takes Steps for Transparency

Twenty groups joined OpenTheGovernment.org in a letter to Congressional leadership expressing their support for Senator Patrick Leahy's USA Freedom Act and asking for a floor vote on the bill

OpenTheGovernment.org did not support the USA Freedom Act passed by the House of Representatives, partly due to the removal of the bill's important transparency provisions. The Senate bill includes provisions requiring meaningful reporting on the number of individuals or unique accounts whose information is collected under surveillance authorities. 

Read more about the bill and reasons for the openness groups' support here

Unprecedented Civil Society Report on US OGP: One Small Step for Open Government

The US met most of its 2011 commitments to make the government more open and accountable according to an unprecedented evaluation of the US’ efforts to implement its first National Action Plan. President Obama presented the US’s commitments at the launch of the Open Government Partnership on September 20, 2011.

While the Plan reflected many of the priorities of open government advocates, the specific commitments included in the plan do not put the US on a path to accomplish those goals quickly. According to Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, “The Administration should be commended for taking good first, if often small, steps forward on a number of issues. Achieving the greater goal of transforming government to be open and accountable to the public, though, will require the proverbial giant leap.”

Rushing Leaks Legislation through Congress Threatens Openness and Accountability

UPDATED: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates for open and accountable government are warning the leadership of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees not to follow through on their current plan to rush a bill to address recent leaks of classified national security information. Doing so would run a real risk of writing into law policies that not only do not work but also endanger other critical national priorities.

OpenTheGov, POGO, and Allies Ask for Full Release of Crucial Information Regarding Camp Lejeune

January 24, 2012- WASHINGTON, D.C.--OpenTheGovernment.org, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and allies are pressing the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come clean about water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune—where Marines, civilians, and their families were poisoned by the water they used and drank, but have yet to see justice after years of secrecy. Their plight was recently featured in the Academy Awards short-listed film, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which documents the catastrophic effects of the contamination and resulting cover-up.