Speaker Paul Ryan this week secretly removed a provision from the House version of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have reinstated a degree of Congressional oversight on military engagement authorized by the White House.
Excessive secrecy has been a hallmark of the use of lethal force by the United States since the September 11th attacks, both in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in drone strikes and other operations outside areas of active hostilities. The Trump Administration has so far continued to reject transparency around military actions, in some ways further shrouding the military and the drone program in secrecy.
In a troubling rejection of transparency and accountability, the Trump administration has reportedly begun returning federal agency copies of the Senate Torture Report to Congress. At the request of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the CIA, the CIA Inspector General, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have all sent their copies to Congress.
After missing an important opportunity to demand greater transparency from the White House nominee picked to oversee the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), members of the Senate Judiciary Committee submitted questions for the record to get answers from Steven A. Engel on how he would approach disclosure policies as head of an office plagued with secrecy.
News broke Friday of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on an ISIS-held area in Syria, resulting in as many as 106 civilian casualties. The airstrikes came on the heels of the military’s confirmation that U.S.
Senate misses opportunity to demand greater transparency from Justice Department nominee on “secret law”
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2017 – On May 10th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the confirmation of Steven A. Engel to oversee the Office of Legal Counsel -- an office in charge of reviewing potential executive branch actions and whether they violate the law.
On April 24, the Supreme Court declined to hear ACLU v. CIA, ending the ACLU’s attempt to have the report from the Senate’s investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (the “Torture Report”) deemed subject to FOIA and marking a significant defeat for government openness and transparency.
OTG joins rights groups in support of Congressional call for dissemination of Senate “Torture Report”
Today, 40 members of Congress sent a letter, supported by OTG and a coalition of human rights and accountability organizations, urging President Obama to direct federal agencies to immediately open and internally promulgate copies of the Senate’s investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (a.k.a. “The Torture Report”).