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Category Archive: Transparency

May 02 2013

Biden Wants Torture Report Released

The Senate Intelligence Committee put out a massive and comprehensive report on the use of torture by the government, but no one outside the government has ever seen it because the CIA is afraid it will reveal too much. Vice President Joe Biden says he thinks it should be released:

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Mar 05 2013

The Danger of the Daniel Manning Prosecution

Yochai Benkler, a Harvard law professor and one of the expert witnesses in the Bradley Manning case, has a long and very compelling article in the New Republic about the dangers of that prosecution and how it is being pursued primarily as a deterrent to future whistleblowers. I found this passage particularly prescient:

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Feb 11 2013

Who Leaked the Drone Memo?

I definitely would like to know who leaked the memo that has an abbreviated version of the Obama administration’s legal justification for the drone strike program, a memo so badly written and reasoned that you can see now why the DOJ has refused to make it public. Jack Shafer has some ideas:

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Jan 07 2013

Obama Allowed to Keep Drone Rationale Secret

The Obama administration’s efforts to keep every tiny detail of its actions in the war on terror secret continues to succeed in court and has now been extended even further. A federal judge has ruled that the administration doesn’t even have to reveal the legal basis for the drone strikes it uses so often. You …

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Jul 31 2012

The Most Transparent Administration in History Strikes Again

Yet another example of the Obama administration — you know, the promised “most transparent administration in history” — using legal procedures to fight against actual transparency in court. A court has allowed them to continue to pretend that documents that were already made public are still so secret that they are not subject to the …

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Jun 22 2012

Bad Arguments for Government Secrecy

Spencer Ackerman has a list of the five worst arguments ever offered by the government to justify keeping its most egregious misdeeds secret. It includes last week’s claim by the NSA that it would violate the privacy of those whose privacy they violated if they were to reveal how many people’s privacy was violated. It …

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Jun 21 2012

The Obama Administration’s Weird Definition of Privacy

My former colleague Spencer Ackerman got his hands on a deeply ironic letter written by the NSA to two senators, in which the agency claims that they can’t tell them how many people have been targeted for surveillance because that would violate the privacy of those who were targeted. I wish I was kidding.

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Jun 19 2012

Obama’s False Promise of Transparency

Remember when President Obama promised, on his very first day in office, to have the most transparent administration in history? The reality has been quite the contrary and here’s yet another example. In response to a FOIA request for Bush-era legal document on the president’s authority to make recess appointments, the DOJ redacted well over …

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Jun 16 2012

Warren Mayor Lies About FOIA Concerns

In my experience filing many Freedom of Information Act requests, some government agencies are much better than others. Some do their best to comply with the law and provide the information requested; others do everything they can to delay and deny such requests. The mayor of Warren, Jim Fouts, is a great example of the …

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Jun 11 2012

Feynman’s FBI File Released

MuckRock, a website dedicated to using Freedom of Information Act requests to bring greater transparency to government actions, has received the FBI files on Richard Feynman. What it shows is downright creepy, like the fact that many of his close friends were FBI informants who were spying on him and feeding information to the government, …

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May 30 2012

Michigan Considering SWAT Transparency Bill

Rep. Tom McMillin, a very conservative Republican, has submitted a bill that would bring greater transparency to the use of SWAT teams in the state of Michigan. The bill would force law enforcement agencies to detail how and why they have used SWAT teams in every instance:

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May 28 2012

Federal Judge Blasts DOJ on Guantanamo Tapes

A federal judge is apparently fed up with the stonewalling from the Pentagon and the Department of Justice in a Freedom of Information Act case seeking video recordings of forced cell extractions at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Politico reports:

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Apr 23 2012

NSA Whistleblower: They Have Your Emails

William Binney, who worked at the highest levels of the NSA for thirty years, has blown the whistle on that agency and revealed that the federal government has copies of virtually every email you and I and everyone else has sent for the last few years. Here’s video of him talking about it on Democracy …

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Feb 29 2012

WikiLeaks Exposes Private CIA

WikiLeaks has released about 5 million emails from a company called Stratfor, which appears to operate as essentially a private CIA for governments and corporations around the world. Here is some of what they say is in those emails:

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Feb 29 2012

Obama Wants FISA Amendment Challenge Dismissed

The Obama DOJ is being asked to dismiss a challenge to the 2008 FISA amendments, which were supported by Obama despite his threat to filibuster the bill, on standing grounds. There’s a great FARK headline for this: “The GOP’s conundrum: Created by Bush, so it’s good. Wait, it’s supported by Obama, so it’s bad. Crap, …

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