Preserving Records

Get Involved: 10 Open Government Questions for 2012

There are a lot of distractions during election season. There are more and more gotcha ads, and increasingly less discussion about what really matters. At OpenTheGovernment.org, POGO, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) we spend a lot of time thinking about how our government can be more transparent, accountable, and effective. We'd love to be having conversations with every candidate to help educate them and to inform the work that we do in Washington---no matter the results of the election. Perhaps together we can!

New Step Toward Making Sure the Government Can Find and Share E-Records

On Friday, August 24, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) belatedly issued the Managing Government Records Directive. The Directive lays out the framework for how the federal government plans to make sure it is effectively and efficiently managing electronic records. There is much for the open government community to like in the Directive: a requirement that agencies designate a senior official to oversee records management and an emphasis on managing records in the cloud, for example. And there is one big thing for open government advocates to not like: deadlines that mean it will be many more years before we can say with any certainty that federal government agencies are not improperly destroying or otherwise losing records.

NARA Report Shows Continued Govt-wide Records Mis-Management

The May 1 release of a report by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), based on surveys agencies filled out about their record keeping practices, shows how much more work needs to be done before we can say with any certainty that the government is not at risk of losing potentially important records.

Why Did Rodriguez Get Away with Destroying the Torture Tapes – and What Happened to the Rule of Law?

Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan asked in his column in the Daily Beast, “Why Did Rodriguez Destroy The Torture Tapes?” It was good to see someone call out that aspect of Rodriguez’s – and the CIA’s – illegality. Sullivan’s is an important question that Rodriguez answered in the shallow, self-congratulatory manner exhibited in the rest of the disturbing CBS 60 Minutes interview. Sullivan’s response to Rodriguez’s claims is well worth a read.

A question that Sullivan does not ask, nor has any other journalist to our knowledge, is “Why did Rodriguez get away with destroying the torture tapes?” When OpenTheGovernment.org Executive Director Patrice McDermott received the 2011 James Madison Award from the American Library Association, she devoted her acceptance remarks to the outrage of Rodriguez’s destruction of the tapes – despite a court order to preserve them – and the unwillingness of the Justice Department to hold him accountable.

NARA Survey Shows Continued Govt-wide Records Mis-Management

The May 1 release of an annual report by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), based on surveys agencies filled out about their record keeping practices, shows how much more work needs to be done before we can say with any certainty that the government is not at risk of losing potentially important records.