Congress Says Special-Ops Budget Too Secret

While details on spending on specific national-security programs are sometimes kept from the public, such secrecy is not supposed to extend to Congress. Lawmakers are supposed to have detailed information on executive branch activities so they can knowledgeably exercise their constitutional power of the purse.

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Disclosure of NSA Surveillance Programs Underscores Need for Increased Transparency of National Security Activities

As more facts come to light about the massive, ongoing surveillance affecting millions of Americans, it is imperative that the government bring greater transparency and accountability to national security programs. We need a new national debate about personal privacy and security and where we as a country will draw the line.

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2013 Sunshine Week in Review

For the Center for Effective Government, this year's Sunshine Week was a busy and productive time. We released two new reports and participated in several panels and events that gave us an opportunity not only to share our expertise and findings, but also to exchange ideas with other members of the open government community, government officials, and the media.

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Celebrating Sunshine Week 2013

Sunshine Week, a nationwide initiative highlighting the importance of open government and accountability, will be held this year from March 10-16. Created by journalists in 2002, Sunshine Week is designed to educate people on their right to access public information in understandable, user-friendly formats to participate more effectively in democracy and to use such information to protect and improve their communities.

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Begins Work

This morning, the long-awaited Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is holding its first public meeting. Congress created the board in 2007 to ensure privacy and civil liberties are protected from overzealous domestic counterterrorism activities.  However, the board has laid dormant since its creation. The Senate failed to confirm President Bush's nominees in 2008.

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Law that Legalized Warrantless Wiretapping Up for Reauthorization Today

The FISA Amendments Act, the 2008 law that legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, is up for reauthorization on the House floor, with a vote scheduled for later today. The law authorizes the government to get permission from a special, secret court to investigate international communications of American citizens, without specifying suspicion of wrongdoing. 

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National Archives Launches Initial CUI Registry

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) today launched the initial registry of controlled unclassified information (CUI) categories that agencies can use to safeguard sensitive but unclassified information. President Obama called for the registry in his executive order on CUI, which he signed one year ago today.

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How to Strengthen Transparency in the U.S. Open Government Plan

Yesterday, OMB Watch submitted its recommendations for the Obama administration's national plan for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The administration will unveil its plan, with new concrete commitments to increase transparency, at the international OGP meeting on Sept. 20.

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Secret Watchlists: Don’t Ask, Because Uncle Sam Won’t Tell

Department of Homeland Security seal

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is operating a massive new database of personal information. But if you want to know if you're in the database, you'll be out of luck. A proposed rule by DHS would keep the database secret by exempting it from nearly every provision of the Privacy Act.

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Chemical Bill Keeps Americans in Harm’s Way, Weakens National Security

On June 22, the House Homeland Security Committee approved H.R. 901, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011, which would extend the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) for another seven years.

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