Policy and News Updates for November 16, 2004


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Policy Updates


[updated]Intelligence reform: intel budget, classification reform hinge on deal
The Senate version of the intelligence reform legislation, S. 2845, requires disclosure of the annual intelligence budget and allows Congress to appeal agency decisions to classify documents or sections of public reports, while the House version does not. The White House opposes both provisions.
Status: Budget disclosure appears doomed. Intelligence reform legislation is less likely to pass in the lame-duck session as negotiations continue over whether the intelligence budget is controlled by the new National Intelligence Director or the Defense Secretary. Sen. Susan Collins continues to offer dropping disclosure of the total intelligence budget to break the impasse.
Source: Washington Post, Nov. 9, 2004.
Action: For alerts from many concerned groups, see the Rights Working Group.


[updated]NIH Proposes Open Access Policy
A new proposal from the National Institutes of Health would require all published scientific articles based on taxpayer-funded research to be publicly available for free. Currently, scientific journals publish the studies, which can only be accessed by subscriptions or through an academic institution that has its own subscription.
Status: Public comments due today, Nov. 16. Comments can be submitted through the NIH website.
Source: Alliance for Taxpayer Access
Action: Send a letter to Congress.


[updated] Independent Classification Board
Language added to the intelligence reform legislation (see above) would allow Congress (but not the public) to appeal agency classification decisions through a newly created Independent National Security Classification Board. Agency efforts to black out major sections of high-profile reports on Iraq and 9/11 prompted the proposal of such a board.
Status: Negotiations between the House and Senate continue.
Action: Send a letter to Congress in support of a classification board!



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News Highlights



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Homeland Security Employees Required to Sign Secrecy Pledge
[Washington Post Nov. 16]


Putting more public info online worries some
[Associated Press Nov. 15]


Minnesota Legislature Restricts Media Access to Polling Sites
[OMB Watcher Nov. 15]


Reporters Committee releases report on Gonzales, press freedom, and the public’s right to know
[Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Nov. 15]


The Arrival of Secret Law
[Secrecy News Nov. 14]


TSA Threatens to Arrest Leakers
[Secrecy News Nov. 14]


Seeking budget papers
[Free Lance-Star Nov. 13]


Revised plan to seal data runs afoul of health groups
[Star-Ledger Nov. 12]


Unit Plans Closed Hearings on Collapse of the Towers
[New York Times Nov. 12]


News groups back release of town data
[Greenwich Time Nov. 10]


Secrecy Cloaked During Election Campaign
[Inter Press Service Nov. 10]


High court lets stand ruling for whistle-blowing teacher
[Associated Press Nov. 10]


Court Ruling Protects Public Interest
[The Morning News Nov. 10]


Our View: A loss for open government
[Idaho Statesman Nov. 10]


Judge sides with newspaper that sought Oakland salary records
[Associated Press Nov. 9]


NRC restores Web docs
[FCW.com Nov. 8]


Reporter sues Corrections Department for parolee data
[CalAware Weekly Nov. 8]


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