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Director of National Intelligence Must Provide Public with Information on Section 702 Surveillance

Yesterday, joined the Brennan Center for Justice and 30 other privacy, civil liberties, and openness groups in calling on Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to provide the public with more information on troubling aspects of U.S. government surveillance programs.

Open government groups call for new USTR “transparency officer”

In a letter sent today, OTG joined 22 groups and individuals committed to government openness and accountability to urge the USTR to reconsider the recent decision to appoint the USTR General Counsel as its new, congressionally-mandated “transparency officer.”

Senate Should Adopt VA Whistleblower Protections

Yesterday, joined the Government Accountability Project (GAP) and 35 other organizations in calling on the Senate to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) whistleblower protections that constitute Section 4 of the VA Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 1994). 

Urging Congress to Make Presidential Library Fundraising More Transparent

Raising money for presidential libraries is frequently the source of controvery for outgoing administrations, as such fundraising is largely free of the restrictions imposed on other types of political donations. As President Obama begins securing donations for his own library, joins Demand Progress and more than a dozen other organizations in calling for greater transparency in the fundraising process.

Administration Must Address Restrictive Media Policies and Practices joined the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and 51 other groups in a second letter urging President Obama to address the White House and agencies' restrictive public information policies.

Groups provide comments on proposed regulation on Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)

After coordinating closely with the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) on the implementation of the CUI framework, open government groups submitted comments on the proposed regulation on CUI on July 7, 2015. In the letter, the groups expressed gratitude for the responsiveness of ISOO to civil society concerns and suggestions, while explaining remaining concerns that certain provisions of the proposed rule could discourage legitimate information-sharing, both internally and outside the government.

Groups Urge Senate to Oppose the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”), which the full Senate is expected to debate in the near future, does far more to increase surveillance and undermine transparency than to protect against cyber threats, according to 12 open government and civil liberties groups. The groups joined in a letter urging the Senate to reject the bill in its entirety. and Over 50 Other Groups Oppose PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Without Reform joined a broad, bipartisan group of over 50 organizations in strongly opposing Senator Mitch McConnell's effort to extend the PATRIOT Act for five years without any reform of surveillance programs. As the letter states, "[i]n the absence of meaningful reform, it is unacceptable to rubber stamp reauthorization of an authority that the government has used to spy on millions of innocent Americans."

Legal Justice for Servicemembers Act Introduced in House and Senate

The Legal Justice for Servicemembers Act, introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, and Edward J. Markey and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, strengthens whistleblower protections rights for members of the Armed Forces. Twenty-seven groups joined the Government Accountability Project in strongly supporting the legislation.

Time to End the Senate's NDAA Secrecy

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $585 billion in Pentagon spending. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) keeps the public almost entirely in the dark on this mammoth authorization bill. Last year, the text of the bill considered by the committee was not made available publicly and the markup was closed to the public. In contrast, the House Armed Services Committee has held an open markup for years.

The Classified Section

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

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