Policy and News Updates for April 20, 2006

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Policy Updates for April 20, 2006

[new] New GAO report addresses "pseudo-classification"
"Information Sharing," a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), addresses the need for clear and consistent federal polices for "sensitive but unclassified information." As reported in the last Updates, Congress is addressing pseudo-classification in the "Executive Branch Reform Act" (H.R. 5112), a bipartisan bill introduced by Reps. Davis (R-VA) and Waxman (D-CA).
Status: On April 17, GAO released the report to the public. On April 6, the House Government Reform Committee reported out H.R. 5112.
Sources: Information Sharing [GAO]; POGO’s blog; Report, Legislation Drive Push to End Pseudo-Classification of Information[OMB Watch]; H.R. 5112 [Thomas]

[updated] Reclassification of documents leads to investigation
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released two declassified Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the withdrawal of government records from its collections. The first MOU was signed by NARA and the Air Force, the second by NARA and the CIA. In February, the National Security Archive revealed that thousands of declassified documents were removed from public access from NARA. NARA halted the reclassification program until its Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) finishes an audit of the reclassified documents.
Status: The ISOO audit is expected to be released on April 26.
Sources: NARA’s latest press release and a background paper on MOUs; Secrecy News blog; Archives Pledges to End Secret Agreements [Washington Post]

[updated] National Security Letter recipients can speak publicly
The recipients of a National Security Letter, the Library Connection in Connecticut, will be able to speak out for the first time about their experience with the PATRIOT Act, following the government’s decision to drop its case to keep them quiet.
Status: The government dropped its case. The ACLU plans to hold a news conference to publicly introduce the recipients in a few weeks.
Sources: ACLU’s statement; Read more about NSLs [ACLU]; Librarians Win as U.S. Relents on Secrecy Law [New York Times]

News from Coalition Partners and Others

[new] Scholarly articles on federal secrecy
I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, published by Ohio State University and Carnegie Mellon, focused its most recent issue on "Federal Secrecy After September 11 and the Future of the Information Society." Read the articles here.


[new] Check out ALA’s new action center!
When Congress returns on Monday, April 24th, the American Library Association (ALA) will officially introduce a new online legislative action center. Check it out at www.onlineadvocacy.net