So far, the Trump Administration has shown a willingness to accelerate the use of military force overseas, while continuing and sometimes expanding on the excessive secrecy of its predecessors. As the number of civilian casualties from U.S. strikes grows at a shocking pace, government transparency and Congressional oversight may be the surest way to advance accountability in U.S. use of military force.
Congress should demand greater transparency and oversight for law enforcement, not more militarization
A federal program that provides state and local police departments with military-grade surveillance equipment and tactical weapons lacks proper oversight and accountability mechanisms, according to Members of the House Armed Services Committee.
OpenTheGovernment is pleased to support the 2017 Promoting Transparency in Trade Act (H.R. 3339), introduced Thursday by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) with 16 co-sponsors.
Rep. Dingell also introduced a version of the bill in 2016, which failed to advance. OTG and several of our partners supported the bill then, and the 2017 bill goes even farther toward making U.S. trade negotiations more open and inclusive.
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.
Yesterday, OpenTheGovernment joined a coalition of civil rights, privacy rights, and civil liberty organizations calling for Congress to support reforms to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to prevent the FBI and domestic law enforcement agencies from engaging in unlawful surveillance of U.S. persons.
In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday, OpenTheGovernment joined a coalition of organizations in calling on Congress to ensure that any new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) improves transparency and oversight of U.S. wars. The groups commended the Committee for considering the issue of a new AUMF, and urged Senators to hold a full and transparent debate in the full Senate if the Committee moves forward with any new authorization.
President Trump’s unprecedented use of Twitter has for months prompted concerns over preservation of his Twitter accounts.