Reducing Secrecy

OpenTheGovernment.org's Statement on the McCain-Feinstein Anti-Torture Amendment

OpenTheGovernment.org strongly supports passage of Amendment 1889 to the NDAA, the McCain-Feinstein amendment. The amendment would seek to prevent the United States government from ever again engaging in torture, by requiring that:

--All interrogations by the United States government, including by the CIA, must comply with the standards in the Department of Defense’s Field Manual on Interrogation

Sunshine Week’s Transparency Legislation; CISA Threats Move Forward

This Sunshine Week, members of Congress stepped up to introduce legislation to increase openness and accountability in all branches of the federal government. Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Grassley introduced legislation to require the Supreme Court’s open proceedings to be televised. Similar legislation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2012 and 2010. Rep. Gerard Connolly introduced identical legislation (HR 94) in February.

CISA is Back, and It’s Still Terrible on Transparency

Cybersecurity legislation is much needed, but previous versions of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) all had one thing in common: harsh blows to government transparency. In July, OTG took issue with the Washington Post’s support of the legislation, noting that CISA fails to protect privacy, would block crucial information from the public, and threatens journalists and whistleblowers. The recently- released 114th Congress’ Intelligence Committee version of the bill contains the same worrisome provisions.

Overclassification: The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem

The Inspector General for the Office of the Direct of National Intelligence (DNI) has released its annual report on over-classification. Like most reports by government agencies on this subject, it acknowledges certain, minor bureaucratic problems with the way the classification system runs. But the Inspector General found “no instances” of violations of Section 1.7 of the Executive Order governing classification, which states:

The Need for Secrecy Reform to Prevent CIA Abuses

The Guardian has published an op-ed by OpenTheGovernment.org's national security fellow, Katherine Hawkins, on the need to reform the classification system to prevent abuses like those documented in the Senate torture report.  An excerpt is below, and the full text is available on the Guardian's website.