Policy and News Updates for October 24, 2006

Policy Updates

[new] FEMA omits Everglades in flood map
The Everglades Agricultural Area, one of Florida’s lowest lying wetland areas, is not included on the floodplain maps of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The FEMA maps are used by insurance companies and banks to determine whether property needs to be insured against flood risks, and areas designated as outside floor areas have higher market values.

PEER press release; View a map of the EAA [South Florida Water Management District via PEER]

[new] Hoekstra suspends Democratic staffer
House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) suspended a Democratic staffer’s access to classified information last week, pending the outcome of a panel investigation into whether the staffer leaked sections of the National Intelligence Estimate on Global Terrorism to the press. Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), who brought the possible leak to the attention of Rep. Hoekstra, admitted to having no “credible information” that the staffer is the source of a leak.
Sources: House Intel Chair Suspends Staff Member [Forbes]

News from Coalition Partners and Others

Project uses FOIA to expose government invasion of privacy
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Projectaims to expose the government’s expanding use of new technologies that invade Americans’ privacy. Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the project will help protect individual liberties and hold the government accountable. Already, the FLAG project has filed two lawsuits- one filed last week against the Department of Justice, asking for records concerning the FBI’s “Investigative Data Warehouse” (IDW) and one filed earlier this month demanding that the FBI release records concerning DCS-3000 and Red Hook – tools the FBI has spent millions of dollars developing for electronic surveillance of personal communications.

National Security Archive says Attorney General’s Report Ignores Serious Problems
The National Security Archive at the George Washington University last week responded to the “Attorney General’s Report to the President Pursuant to Executive Order 13,392, Entitled ‘Improving Agency Disclosure of Information’.” In a letter to the Attorney General and Congress, the National Security Archive brought attention to some of the serious problems with the FOIA system not acknowledged in the Report and called for congressional oversight hearings.