Policy and News Update for August 21, 2012

In This Issue:
News from Coalition Partners & Others
I. Looking for the Secrecy Report?


Also, don't miss on our website: OGIS and Improving FOIA

News from Coalition Partners & Others

Sunlight Foundation Crunches the Numbers on the Public’s Access to Office of Legal Counsel Opinions

Thirty-nine percent of Office of Legal Counsel opinions are not available to the public, according to a Sunlight Foundation analysis. Contrary to agency guidance and best practices recommended by the Department of Justice, only 201 of 509 opinions are available to the public online. The report outlines why public access to these opinions is need.

Choose Your Own Adventure: And Learn About the Importance of Regulations and Scientific Integrity

The Union of Concerned Scientists displays the impact of regulations and science on daily life through an interactive game modeled after the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. The story, which begins a fire alarm in the middle of the night, points out both the benefit of regulations and the environmental impact when these rules are informed with corporate influence.

Organizations Push for the Whistleblower Protection Act

141 organizations, including OpenTheGovernment.org, joined the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC) in an open letter to members of Congress urging that they pass the strongest version of the Whistleblower Protection Act. In order to adequately protect whistleblowers, the bill sent to President Obama must include the strengths of H.R. 3289 and S. 743, including access to district court, administrative due process, and security clearance due process reform. The final letter can be read here.

I. Looking for the Secrecy Report?

Each year, OpenTheGovernment.org publishes the Secrecy Report compiling the top secrecy challenges, statistics, trends and successes of the past fiscal year. We have pushed the release of the report from the first week of September to mid-September to accommodate the party conventions coverage during our usual release period.


The report will take a new format, now utilizing the expertise and insight of our Steering Committee members. Members of our steering committee will join us in analytical comments on the indicators of government secrecy. This change was initiated to highlight the deep expertise of our partners and because the quality, comparability and completeness of many of the statistics from which we compile our report have been called into question. As an example, the Information Security Oversight Office’s (ISOO) report to the President on classification and declassification has questioned the usefulness of derivative classification numbers it gathers. The meaningfulness of the numbers in other sections of the report made it clear we should approach the report in a new way. Accordingly, Executive Director Patrice McDermott will frame the report by taking a look at the challenges of attempting to measure secrecy and “unknown unknowns.”




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