Policy and News Updates for August 31, 2004

While the pre-Labor Day pace slows, take this opportunity to discover OpenTheGovernment.org's Resource Center, which contains information on policy issues, advice and strategies on becoming an advocate, and other great tools. Also, please forward this email on and encourage people to sign-up at our website! As always, let us know how we can improve the updates and any omissions.

 

'Report Card' Finds 60% Rise in Secrecy at a Rising Cost of 6.5 Billion Last Year

CONTACT: Patrice McDermott 202-332-6736
View the 2004 Secrecy Report Card.

Government data confirm what many have suspected: secrecy has increased dramatically in recent years under policies of the current administration. For every the federal government spent last year releasing old secrets, it spent an extraordinary $120 maintaining the secrets already on the books, according to an analysis by OpenTheGovernment.org.

"Secrecy Report Card: Quantitative Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Government," is an initial effort to establish measurable benchmarks for evaluating the level of secrecy in government. The study was released Aug. 26 by OpenTheGovernment.org, a coalition of more than 30 organizations calling for more democracy and less secrecy in government.

Policy and News Updates for August 24, 2004

Policy Updates

 

(New information is highlighted with [new] or [updated] in the title) NOTE: Beginning with this week's updates, we're altering the format to (1) better clarify where your actions could have an immediate impact, (2) better warn you of issues that may require action in the near future, and (3) better keep you informed of other issues that may help or hinder your ability to keep government open and accountable.

Policy and News Updates for August 17, 2004

Policy Updates

 

(New information is highlighted with [new] or [updated] in the title) NOTE: Beginning with this week's updates, we're altering the format to (1) better clarify where your actions could have an immediate impact, (2) better warn you of issues that may require action in the near future, and (3) better keep you informed of other issues that may help or hinder your ability to keep government open and accountable.

Government Classifies Too Much Information, Congress Must Act, Groups Say

The nation's secrecy system is broken and needs overhaul, twenty groups noted in a letter to intelligence committees in the House and Senate today. Initial secrecy about Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses and federal agency efforts to classify key sections of reports about Iraq and 9/11 failures show the national security secrecy system needs reform, the letter says. In the letter, the groups urge two basic changes. First, Congress should create an oversight board that could settle disputes about whether information should be classified. Second, Congress should establish a national classification center to guide and oversee agency decisions to stamp documents as classified. (See also PDF versions of the letter to the and .)