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. 

read in full

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.

read in full

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.

read in full

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.

read in full

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.

read in full

Obama Administration Reaches Plea Deal with NSA Whistleblower

National Security Agency sealThe Obama administration agreed to drop its controversial Espionage Act case against former National Security Agency (NSA) employee Thomas Drake, according to reports yesterday. Instead, Drake will plead guilty to exceeding authorized use of a computer, a misdemeanor. The deal calls for no jail time or fine, with up to one year of probation.

read in full

Congress Extends Patriot Act, No New Oversight

Congress voted yesterday to extend three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until June 2015 without adopting any new oversight or transparency provisions. President Obama has signed the bill.

read in full

Spying Without Oversight is a Compromise?

Congressional leaders have agreed to extend key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until June 2015, according to reports today. The extension will not include reforms.

read in full

House Panel Advances Patriot Act Extension, Without Reforms

The House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted to reauthorize key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. The committee also rejected several proposals to reform the controversial provisions of the intelligence law.

read in full

Administration Replacing Derided Terror Alert System

As transparency advocates, we often advocate for government to make more information available to the public. However, sometimes the problem comes when government does make information available – and the information is wrong, confusing, misleading, or manipulative.

read in full