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Coalition of Open Government Groups Confront President Obama On Policy that Frustrates Transparency

WASHINGTON – A coalition of 25 transparency groups and open government advocates sent a letter to President Obama today urging him to either “withdraw” or “provide guidance to agencies” on a 2009 White House Counsel memorandum that instructs all federal agencies to consult with White House attorneys on documents of interest to the Administration before releasing them.

Statement: New US National Action Plan Initiatives

The US will address four new openness issues as part of its 2014-2015 National Action Plan, honoring its promise to make the second Plan a “living document.” The new commitments largely build on the government’s new and existing data and technology initiatives. The government’s commitment to increase transparency in spending now includes the administration’s efforts to implement the DATA Act.

Release: Public Interest Groups Call for CIA Director to Resign

A coalition of public interest groups called for CIA Director John Brennan’s resignation Tuesday, citing abuses of power that include obstructing and spying on a Senate committee that was looking into the agency’s use of torture.

OpenTheGovernment.org to Host Fellow from President Obama’s Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

OpenTheGovernment.org is pleased to announce that it will host Al Kags, a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow from Kenya participating in the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in August and September 2014. He was recognized as a New Generation African Leader (2013).

Broad Coalition of Organizations Sign on in Support of FOIA Improvement Act of 2014

Fifty organizations representing a broad range of interests and crossing the political spectrum expressed support for the recently-introduced FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, S. 2520. The bill was introduced earlier this week by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who have a long history of working together to develop and pass legislation that makes the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a better tool for the public to obtain government records.

OpenTheGovernment.org Welcomes Leahy-Cornyn Bill to Improve FOIA

OpenTheGovernment.org strongly supports the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, a bill introduced by longtime champions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy and Senator Cornyn. The bill addresses a number of issues that members of our coalition have identified as obstacles to the public’s ability to use the FOIA to get timely access to government records.

House Passes Hollowed-Out Version of USA FREEDOM Act

Last week, OpenTheGovernment.org and thirteen other organizations wrote to the House leadership and asked them to restore the government transparency provisions of the original USA FREEDOM Act in order to “to verify that the NSA actually ends bulk collection instead of finding new loopholes to exploit.” Instead, House leadership engaged in closed-door negotiations with the intelligence community, and introduced new loopholes into the bill’s priv

Groups Call on Holder to Follow Court Order, be Open about Targeted Killing Program

Thirty organizations representing a broad range of interests have joined to urge Attorney General Holder to decline to appeal a recent federal court ruling that would provide the public with critical information about the legal analysis underpinning the targeted killing program.

Revised USA FREEDOM Act Lacks Transparency and Strong Special Advocate

A weakened version of the USA Freedom Act unanimously passed through the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and reportedly was approved today by the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence—clearing the way for the bill to be debated on the House Floor. But the bill omits critical government reporting requirements included in the original USA FREEDOM Act as introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).

Statement on SSCI Vote for Declassification of Torture Report

OpenTheGovernment.org applauds the members and staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) for today’s bipartisan vote to begin declassification of the Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. We urge the President to fulfill his promise to swiftly declassify the material that the committee has submitted for declassification review. In order for that review to be meaningful, the President must ensure that the CIA abandons its prior position that the details of individual detainees’ torture are classified “sources and methods,” and abandons any attempt to interfere with the committee’s oversight.

"We hope that today’s vote marks the first step towards declassification of the full SSCI report, and the beginning of the end of more than a decade of excessive secrecy about torture," said Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org. "The American people have a right to know what their government does in their name."

The Classified Section

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

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