Policy and News Updates for May 6, 2008


In This Issue: [click on the link to go to the corresponding section]

I. 19 Groups Join OpenTheGovernment.org in Urging Continuation of Snapshots of Federal Web Sites
II. The Pentagon’s Hidden Hand Behind TV Analysts
III. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Holds Hearing on Secret Law
News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. 19 Groups Join OpenTheGovernment.org in Urging Continuation of Snapshots of Federal Web Sites

OpenTheGovernment.org and 19 organizations wrote to the Archivist of the United States to protest the National Archives’ (NARA) decision to not capture and preserve a "snapshot" of government web pages at the end of the current Administration. The groups asked the Archivist to rescind the decision. "Not capturing federal web sites now may mean losing millions of pages created during the Bush administration," the letter says. The groups note that "These records are essential components of our Nation’s history. No other agency has both the public mandate and the public accountability necessary for protecting historical records."

Read the letter here.

 

II. The Pentagon’s Hidden Hand Behind TV Analysts

On Sunday April, 20th the New York Times published an article revealing the Pentagon’s program of embedding retired military officers into news media organizations to pose as objective military analysts in order to create positive public opinion for the Iraq War.

For more on this story read Glenn Greenwald’s piece on the matter here.

 

III. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Holds Hearing on Secret Law

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, held a hearing on April 30th to address the Bush administration’s increasing reliance on secret law and the threat it poses to democratic and accountable government.

Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists testified at the hearing and later wrote this summary about the proceedings.

For an in depth analysis of the hearing read this piece by Phil Leggiere of HS Today.

To view the webcast of the hearing click here. (Requires RealPlayer)

 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

Electronic Privacy Information Center Notes:

EPIC Note #15: FBI Restricts Application of Virginia Transparency and Privacy Laws for Fusion Center

EPIC Note #16: FTC Discloses Conflict of Interest Analysis Involving Jones Day Law Firm

 

POGO’s Federal Contractor Misconduct Database adopted into law.

On April 23rd the House passed the Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act of 2008 (H.R. 3033), a formalized version of the Project on Government Oversight’s (POGO) Federal Contractor Misconduct Database.

In an editorial published over the weekend, the New York Times applauded the House bill, noting that "separate government agencies burned by bum contractors lack an efficient clearinghouse to swap warnings." The Times editorial also praised POGO’s Misconduct Database as an effective model for keeping track of risky contractors.

 

NCH Asks Congress to Increase Funding for NARA & NHPRC

On April 30, 2008, the National Coalition for History (NCH) submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on the fiscal year 2009 budgets for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Click here to read the the entire testimony.


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