OTG Releases New Report Highlighting Challenges to Transparency in Washington, a Growing Surveillance State, and Attacks on Press Freedoms

Open the Government (OTG) released a new report, Closing Democracy’s Window: The Growing Culture of Secrecy in Washington and the Erosion of the Public’s Right to Know. To document the first year of the Trump Administration, the report closely reviews transparency and openness in the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security; agencies selected for their high profile and their impact on important public policies.

Combating Government Secrecy through Freedom of Information

In response to a growing culture of government secrecy, people are seeking new ways to defend their right to information and combat intensifying threats to transparency and accountability. Openness advocates, journalists, litigators and grassroots organizations working on a range of policy issues are increasingly looking to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to shine light on government actions carried out in our name, but without our knowledge. Today, Open the Government released a Best Practices Guide to FOIA Collaboration, highlighting cases where FOIA collaboration is successfully being used to fuel advocacy campaigns and advance openness policies. 

Coalition calls on ICE to meet congressionally mandated transparency requirements

ICE HAS MISSED TWO DETENTION REPORTING DEADLINES SET BY CONGRESS IN MARCH
 

Joint statement by the American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Detention Watch Network, Human Rights Watch, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Open the Government, Project On Government Oversight, and Women’s Refugee Commission

In Letter Signed by More than Thirty Organizations, Members of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence urged to Oppose Gina Haspel CIA Nomination

May 15, 2018 - More than thirty diverse organizations signed a letter that was sent today to members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence urging the lawmakers to oppose Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA Director. The groups are concerned that Haspel supervised torture, facilitated its cover-up, and obstructed access to her record on these matters, showing a lack of respect for transparency, accountability and the rule of law.

In hearing, Gina Haspel stokes fears about transparency, accountability

In her confirmation hearing today, Gina Haspel fueled fears that as CIA Director she would repeat the mistakes of the past and further undermine congressional oversight, transparency, and the rule of law. During her questioning by members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Haspel confirmed several troubling aspects of her involvement in CIA torture, refused to directly condemn the torture program, and even offered new information that called her judgement into further question.

Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg Releases Statement for the Record Opposing Gina Haspel’s Nomination to Lead the CIA

May 9, 2018 - Open the Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg submitted a statement for the record on Gina Haspel’s nomination hearing today, detailing why the organization opposes Haspel’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. The statement expressed concerns that Haspel’s actions have undermined transparency and accountability, and that “the CIA chose to release only information that cast Ms. Haspel in a positive light” which would make having a “truly open debate…very much in doubt.”

Coalition Calls on Congress to Oppose Defense Department’s FOIA Exemption Carve-Out

May 8, 2018 -- In a letter sent to Congress on Monday, Open the Government called on lawmakers to oppose a Pentagon proposal that would add a new secrecy provision to the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The provision attempts to create a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) carve-out for certain records, that, if enacted, could shield information about the military’s handling of sexual assault complaints, its oversight of contractors, and its interrogation and treatment of prisoners. Congress should use its oversight responsibilities to stop this latest attempt by the Pentagon to exempt itself from public scrutiny and to undermine the people’s right to know.