The Guardian has published an op-ed by OpenTheGovernment.org's national security fellow, Katherine Hawkins, on the need to reform the classification system to prevent abuses like those documented in the Senate torture report. An excerpt is below, and the full text is available on the Guardian's website.
OpenTheGovernment.org did not support the USA Freedom Act passed by the House of Representatives, partly due to the removal of the bill's important transparency provisions. The Senate bill includes provisions requiring meaningful reporting on the number of individuals or unique accounts whose information is collected under surveillance authorities.
Read more about the bill and reasons for the openness groups' support here.
The US met most of its 2011 commitments to make the government more open and accountable according to an unprecedented evaluation of the US’ efforts to implement its first National Action Plan. President Obama presented the US’s commitments at the launch of the Open Government Partnership on September 20, 2011.
While the Plan reflected many of the priorities of open government advocates, the specific commitments included in the plan do not put the US on a path to accomplish those goals quickly. According to Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of OpenTheGovernment.org, “The Administration should be commended for taking good first, if often small, steps forward on a number of issues. Achieving the greater goal of transforming government to be open and accountable to the public, though, will require the proverbial giant leap.”
UPDATED: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Advocates for open and accountable government are warning the leadership of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees not to follow through on their current plan to rush a bill to address recent leaks of classified national security information. Doing so would run a real risk of writing into law policies that not only do not work but also endanger other critical national priorities.
January 24, 2012- WASHINGTON, D.C.--OpenTheGovernment.org, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and allies are pressing the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come clean about water contamination at the U.S. Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune—where Marines, civilians, and their families were poisoned by the water they used and drank, but have yet to see justice after years of secrecy. Their plight was recently featured in the Academy Awards short-listed film, Semper Fi: Always Faithful, which documents the catastrophic effects of the contamination and resulting cover-up.
WASHINGTON, November 28, 2011 - OpenTheGovernment.org and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) applaud the President's Memo on Managing Government Records for taking critical steps towards instituting effective and efficient records management in the federal government. As past experiences demonstrated, failing to properly manage records, especially email, creates an unacceptable risk of losing valuable information that is necessary to understand the development of national policies and to hold officials accountable for their decisions.