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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

Testimony of Scott Amey about Burdens of Overclassification and Government Secrecy

Testimony of Scott Amey, General Counsel Project On Government Oversight (POGO) before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform “Examining the Costs of Overclassification on Transparency and Security” December 7, 2016.
“…Thank you for inviting me to testify today about the state of the federal government’s classification system. I am Scott Amey, General Counsel with the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), a nonpartisan public interest group. Founded in 1981, POGO investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government. I am pleased to testify before you on how best to reduce overclassification and to improve openness…The government’s total security classification cost for fiscal year 2015 was $16.2 billion, and contractors and other nongovernmental entities spent an additional $1.3 billion according to ISOO’s report. Overclassification adds to those costs and no doubt adds to other budget line items that cost agencies additional time and resources. If the 50 percent of overturned classifications statistics provides a rough estimate of the level of the problem throughout the process, then there are potentially billions to be saved by solving our overclassification problem…”

New on LLRX – Legal Tech Evangelist Calls for Engagement on Civil Liberties Post Election

Via LLRX.com – Legal Tech Evangelist Calls for Engagement on Civil Liberties Post Election. Nicole Black, a Rochester, New York attorney and Legal Technology Evangelist delivers a clarion call for colleagues to expand their engagement with groups that work for civil liberties in the United States. Continue Reading

How Often Does The News Media Bring FOIA Lawsuits?

The FOIA Project at the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “Just how active is the news media in taking federal agencies to court when they don’t promptly turn over the records being sought? Hard data to reliably answer this question has been extremely limited. FOIAproject.org today announces an ambitious initiative aimed at filling this void. Starting… Continue Reading

Internet Archive requests donations for a backup to be housed in Canada

This posting today by the Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle – Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Private, is significant for all of us who use this resource, be it as as educators, librarians, attorneys, advocates for civil liberties, students, or as citizens or residents of the United States.  Brewster states: “We are building… Continue Reading

DHS Releases Revised FOIA Regulations, Agrees and Disagrees with EPIC’s Suggestions

Via EPIC: “The Department of Homeland Security has released revised Freedom of Information Act regulations. EPIC submitted extensive comments on the proposed changes to the agency’s open government practices. The DHS agreed to make some changes, recommended by EPIC, that should improve the processing of FOIA requests. The agency maintained a broad definition of “educational… Continue Reading

MuckRock’s Leaks and FOIA FAQ

Everything You Wanted To Know About Transparency (But Were Afraid to Ask Twitter): “With so many hot takes being offered on Wikileaks these days, we thought it would be good to clear the air with a simple primer on the difference between information obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and information obtained from leaks…… Continue Reading

National Security Archive – CIA Releases Controversial Bay of Pigs History

“The CIA today released the long-contested Volume V of its official history of the Bay of Pigs invasion, which it had successfully concealed until now by claiming that it was a “draft” and could be withheld from the public under the FOIA’s “deliberative process” privilege. The National Security Archive fought the agency for years in… Continue Reading

DOJ Guidance on New Restrictions on Assessing Certain FOIA Fees

October 19, 2016 – “With President Obama’s signing of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, several substantive and procedural changes were made to the FOIA. Among these changes are additional restrictions on an agency’s ability to charge certain fees if the FOIA’s time limits are not met. Today, OIP has published guidance to assist agencies in understanding these… Continue Reading

IG – State Dept. reporting of classification activity inaccurate and incorrect

Via FAS – US Department of State OIG – Compliance Follow-up Review of the Department of State’s Implementation of Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information “OIG found that most of the Department’s security-cleared employees had not taken the training required by Executive Order 13526. Based on training records obtained from the Foreign Service Institute, OIG found that less than 14 percent of security-cleared… Continue Reading

FOIA Wiki Launches in Beta

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “Welcome to the FOIA Wiki! This free and collaborative resource on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, is provided by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, with contributions from The FOIA Project at TRAC, MuckRock, FOIA Mapper, and users like you. →… Continue Reading

National Security Archive Cyber Vault Project Library

Beta Edition, via the National Security Archive – “The Cyber Library contains all primary-source materials gathered by the Project across the full range of cyber security issues. New materials will be added on a regular basis. The [content] isting is chronological. To search for specific items, use [the search engine provided]. Continue Reading

District Court Judge releases list of more than 200 cases veiled in secrecy of Patriot Act

Washington Post – This judge just released 200 secret government surveillance requests “U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, a former Senate aide who helped draft the Patriot Act, has defied easy labeling throughout a decades-long career spent charting the frontier of technology and law in the nation’s capital….In ordering the first-ever release by a… Continue Reading