Freedom of Information

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  • FOIA News/ DHS Legislation and Wall Street Journal

    The FOIA blog
    scott hodes
    21 May 2015 | 6:29 am
    A couple of items before the Capital clears out for Memorial Day: The House Committee on Government Oversight has reported out this legislation specifically aimed at the Department of Homeland Security's FOIA Operations.  The Wall Street Journal has an article claiming that an aide to Hillary Clinton was improperly involved in the FOIA Process.  The article, linked to this analysis of the piece by Media Matters is behind a pay wall, so I don't have full access to it.  I can advise you I spoke to WSJ about the FOIA process - I do not know if I am quoted in the…
  • Free speech issues examined after failed terrorist attack on Texas anti-Islam event

    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion
    donal brown
    11 May 2015 | 12:57 pm
    After the aborted terrorist attack at a Prophet Mohammad cartoon event in Texas, there was much criticism of the event’s sponsor Pamela Geller along with defenses of the event on free speech grounds. Writing in Time, May 6, 2015, Qasim Rashid downplays the free speech issue, saying that laws protecting hate speech were developed during […]
  • Idaho senators’ secret selection process for new federal judge raises questions

    IDOG
    IDOG
    27 Apr 2015 | 8:38 am
    It seems that women need not apply to the federal district court bench in Idaho. A secretive selection process that Idaho’s two senators have launched to find a replacement for U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge appears to be ignoring female candidates. From The Spokesman-Review
  • This Memorial Day parade is brought to you (in part) by Kuwait and Taiwan

    OpenSecrets Blog
    Alex Lazar
    22 May 2015 | 2:56 pm
    (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell) Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and that means lots of activity in the nation’s capital — including the National Memorial Day Parade. Organized by the American Veterans Center, the parade has numerous corporate sponsors. What could be more American? So it may seem a little odd that the event is also sponsored by two foreign governments: the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) and the government of Kuwait. Tim Holbert, executive director of the American Veterans Center, told the OpenSecrets Blog that both nations…
  • Heading to International Open Data Conference 2015? We’ll see you there!

    Sunlight Foundation Blog
    Lindsay Ferris
    22 May 2015 | 8:10 am
    Next week, Sunlight, alongside nearly 2,000 open government advocates, civic hackers, journalists and policymakers from around the world, will be headed to Ottawa for the 3rd Annual International Open Data Conference (IODC). It is going to be a week jam-packed with discussions, panels and interactive workshops centered around one central question: How can we use data to make government more transparent and accountable? IODC 2015 presents us with an excellent opportunity to brainstorm on how to tackle the common challenges within our community. We hope that hearing from the global leaders in…
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    The FOIA blog

  • FOIA News/ DHS Legislation and Wall Street Journal

    scott hodes
    21 May 2015 | 6:29 am
    A couple of items before the Capital clears out for Memorial Day: The House Committee on Government Oversight has reported out this legislation specifically aimed at the Department of Homeland Security's FOIA Operations.  The Wall Street Journal has an article claiming that an aide to Hillary Clinton was improperly involved in the FOIA Process.  The article, linked to this analysis of the piece by Media Matters is behind a pay wall, so I don't have full access to it.  I can advise you I spoke to WSJ about the FOIA process - I do not know if I am quoted in the…
  • State Seeks Eight More Months to Process Clinton Email

    scott hodes
    19 May 2015 | 5:04 am
    Vice News has this report on its lawsuit against the State Department on the FOIA request for Hilary Clinton's emails.  State is seeking a delay until January of 2016 to release the emails.  It's unclear from the article why State can't make rolling releases of the material.  Further, the timing is probably not good for Clinton's presidential campaign as the release would come about two weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. Update:  It looks like the Judge had the same idea I did (maybe he was reading the FOIA blog this morning!)  State has been ordered…
  • DOD Attack on the FOIA?

    scott hodes
    18 May 2015 | 7:48 am
    The Defense authorization bill working its way through Congress has set off alarm bills in the FOIA community as a draft of the bill rewrites FOIA Exemption 2 and overrides a 2011 Supreme Court decision that limited the Exemption.  Politico has this on the issue. Since the Supreme Court limited the use of Exemption 2 in 2011 there has been little legislative action to protect information that may not be protected by other exemptions.  Agencies have broadened the use of Exemption 7(e) and (f), but those exemptions may not always be applicable to information formerly protected by…
  • State Department Blaming Hillary For Backlog

    scott hodes
    13 May 2015 | 6:42 am
    The State Department, which had lengthy delays in processing FOIA as far back as I can recall, is now blaming Hillary Clinton's email issues for causing its FOIA backlogs according to the Washington Post. While I don't think the Clinton email issue is helping, I also believe that the State Department has other issues that will remain long after the emails are processed for FOIA.  This is because the State Department FOIA Office has no control over the files requested by the public - they must rely on the program offices to conduct the searches for responsive records.  And…
  • FTC Release of FOIA Bill Concerns

    scott hodes
    12 May 2015 | 8:45 am
    Last December, retiring West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) placed a hold on the FOIA bill that was moving through the Senate.  It was later learned that this hold was placed on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission that had concerns with the bill.  Muckrock has now received, via a FOIA request, the correspondence between the FTC and the Senator on those concerns.  It makes interesting reading, and also shows the power of Twitter within the FOIA community.
 
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    FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION » News & Opinion

  • Free speech issues examined after failed terrorist attack on Texas anti-Islam event

    donal brown
    11 May 2015 | 12:57 pm
    After the aborted terrorist attack at a Prophet Mohammad cartoon event in Texas, there was much criticism of the event’s sponsor Pamela Geller along with defenses of the event on free speech grounds. Writing in Time, May 6, 2015, Qasim Rashid downplays the free speech issue, saying that laws protecting hate speech were developed during […]
  • Free speech: Questions persist over impact of U.S. Supreme Court ruling on judicial elections

    donal brown
    11 May 2015 | 11:23 am
    In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was not unconstitutional for Florida to bar a candidate for a judge seat from sending out a mailing soliciting contributions and from asking for donations on her website. The candidate claimed the restriction violated her free speech rights. “The State may conclude that judges, […]
  • Pennsylvania high school students resist prior restraint

    1stamendmnt
    28 Apr 2015 | 12:35 am
    In a classic case of prior restraint, police and school officials in a suburban Pittsburgh high school warned students against saying anything on or off campus about an investigation of three teachers variously charged with sexual assault and victim intimidation. In an assembly, the principal warned students “against tweets, posts, text, emails, conversations or any […]
  • Journalists suffer corrosive effects of government surveillance

    1stamendmnt
    28 Apr 2015 | 12:31 am
    Now that the government has harnessed surveillance technology in monitoring journalists, they have been forced to invest in expensive and time-consuming counter measures to protect their sources. Journalists can now tap anti-surveillance tools including digital security guides and training programs and an anonymous tip line called SecureDrop that uses security and privacy software to encrypt […]
  • Influential lobbyists can now be tracked in the California state legislature

    1stamendmnt
    27 Apr 2015 | 12:42 am
    A former California state senator is establishing a database allowing the public to discover how lobbyists influence legislation. San Blakeslee’s project will debut May 6 as the Digital Democracy Project (www.digitaldemocracy.org) with videos of legislative hearings. When politicians speak a simultaneous graphic of their major campaign contributors surfaces. When lobbyists speak, a list will appear […]
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    IDOG

  • Idaho senators’ secret selection process for new federal judge raises questions

    IDOG
    27 Apr 2015 | 8:38 am
    It seems that women need not apply to the federal district court bench in Idaho. A secretive selection process that Idaho’s two senators have launched to find a replacement for U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge appears to be ignoring female candidates. From The Spokesman-Review
  • Fines to increase for violations of Idaho Open Meeting Law

    IDOG
    21 Apr 2015 | 8:14 am
    Gov. Butch Otter has signed HB 324 into law, sharply increasing fines for violations of the Idaho Open Meeting Law. Fines for regular violations would rise from $50 to $250; fines for knowing violations would rise from $500 to $1,500; and fines for knowing, repeated violations would rise from $500 to $2,500. From Eye on Boise/The Spokesman-Review
  • Public records policy set at county

    IDOG
    1 Apr 2015 | 1:15 pm
    Kootenai County now has a consistent, uniform policy to ensure public records requests are processed and handled according to state laws and court rules. From the Coeur d'Alene Press
  • City council admits illegally voting via email

    IDOG
    30 Mar 2015 | 9:47 am
    City officials in northern Idaho say they voted illegally four times over the past year. The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Genesee city councilors acknowledged their actions during a special March 26 meeting. The four-member panel then voided its most recent email vote, which involved a lease agreement with the Latah County Library District. From AP/Lewiston Tribune
  • Wasden: Under Idaho Public Records Law, Clinton emails would be available

    IDOG
    15 Mar 2015 | 10:58 am
    As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our state's Public Records Law, I encourage all Idahoans to take a moment to ask whether a policy decision made a generation ago remains relevant in our state today. Guest opinion from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden
 
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    OpenSecrets Blog

  • This Memorial Day parade is brought to you (in part) by Kuwait and Taiwan

    Alex Lazar
    22 May 2015 | 2:56 pm
    (AP Photo/The Herald-Palladium, Don Campbell) Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and that means lots of activity in the nation’s capital — including the National Memorial Day Parade. Organized by the American Veterans Center, the parade has numerous corporate sponsors. What could be more American? So it may seem a little odd that the event is also sponsored by two foreign governments: the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) and the government of Kuwait. Tim Holbert, executive director of the American Veterans Center, told the OpenSecrets Blog that both nations…
  • Hillary Clinton, Morgan Stanley and TPP: A free trade triumvirate?

    Alex Lazar
    21 May 2015 | 11:38 am
    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) As pressure increases for 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton to say where she stands on the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, her ties to avid TPP supporters won’t escape notice. One glaring example: A linked trifecta consisting of the TPP, the mega-investment firm Morgan Stanley, and the Clinton family that involves campaign contributions, former members of Bill Clinton’s administration and large donations to the Clintons’ foundation. Morgan Stanley is one of many U.S. companies supporting the TPP. It’s a member…
  • Big speech could mean big money for Paul camp

    Russ Choma and Ben Jacobs
    20 May 2015 | 5:18 pm
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) speaks on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. (Senate TV via AP) This story was cross-posted with the Guardian’s live blog of the filibuster. Based on Rand Paul’s last filibuster, the presidential candidate’s fundraising is likely to get a big boost from his ongoing speech about NSA surveillance on the Senate floor on Wednesday. In the aftermath of Paul’s previous filibuster in 2013, when he held up a vote on the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA for over 12 hours, the Kentucky Republican increased his fundraising more than sixfold.
  • Departed members of the 113th Congress find new homes on K Street, and elsewhere

    Alex Lazar
    20 May 2015 | 11:15 am
    (Rex Features via AP Images) Former members of the 113th Congress have embarked on various new adventures since their defeats, retirements or departures for other reasons: Some are teaching, others are pondering away at think tanks, a couple are embedded in corporate culture, a few are even enjoying their freedom and sleeping a little later every morning. Not surprisingly, though, many of these former House and Senate members have found new perches on K Steet at lobbying firms large and small. CRP’s revolving door data, which we will continue to update, shows that 42 of the 75 who left…
  • “Campaign donor” is not a job — but occupation can predict party preference

    Andrew Mayersohn
    19 May 2015 | 2:08 pm
    Lawyers tend to be on the liberal side, even within conservative industries. (Flickr/Brent Moore) In the world of money in politics, many interest groups behave predictably. Election after election, contributions from oil and gas companies, for instance, flow overwhelmingly to Republicans, while those who work in education favor Democrats. What about when contributions break down differently within industries? The CFO and the janitor, for instance, may have opposing political views, though realistically the CFO will be the one making most of the campaign contributions. The Center for…
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Heading to International Open Data Conference 2015? We’ll see you there!

    Lindsay Ferris
    22 May 2015 | 8:10 am
    Next week, Sunlight, alongside nearly 2,000 open government advocates, civic hackers, journalists and policymakers from around the world, will be headed to Ottawa for the 3rd Annual International Open Data Conference (IODC). It is going to be a week jam-packed with discussions, panels and interactive workshops centered around one central question: How can we use data to make government more transparent and accountable? IODC 2015 presents us with an excellent opportunity to brainstorm on how to tackle the common challenges within our community. We hope that hearing from the global leaders in…
  • Deletes of the Week: From 'Let Our Congress Tweet' to Politwoops, we've come a long way

    Nicko Margolies
    21 May 2015 | 10:00 pm
    View from House floor deleted after member learned it broke the rules. Image via Politwoops. Since the U.S. version of Politwoops began nearly three years ago, it's enabled journalists to sift through retracted public statements of politicians and, in the words of The Atlantic, added "another layer of accountability to the churning machine of political communications." But political communications didn't always churn away online. Up until 2008, it was against the rules for members of Congress to post "official communications" on nonofficial websites, such as Twitter or YouTube. In a report in…
  • Get to the gyrocopter: Congress should follow Doug Hughes' lead and embrace campaign finance reforms

    Matthew Rumsey
    21 May 2015 | 8:19 am
    A gyrocopter, similar to what Doug Hughes used to land on the Capitol lawn. (Photo credit: Paul Campbell/Flickr) Doug Hughes, the 61-year-old postal worker who landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn to protest “the corrosive influence of money in our political system,” is due in court in Washington today. He faces two felonies, four misdemeanors and possibly 9 1/2 years in prison. Last weekend, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining his act of civil disobedience, pointing to the growing movement of reforming the way that money flows through our politics and…
  • A lot of Washington influence is never disclosed

    Bill Allison
    20 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Image credit: Sunlight Foundation) There’s a lot more influence peddling in Washington than is ever disclosed to the public. As my colleague Peter Olsen-Phillips demonstrated in a piece on Tuesday, defense giant Northrop Grumman employs dozens of people, many of whom came from prominent positions in government service, whose titles and online biographies indicate that their jobs involve interaction with government officials — but do not register as lobbyists. Included in that list are not one but two former generals who led missile commands for the Army and Air Force and now oversee the…
  • Sens. Paul and Wyden may be stopping "clean" reauthorization of Section 215 right now

    Sean Vitka
    20 May 2015 | 3:45 pm
    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr) Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with the aid of Sens. Martin Heinrich, Mike Lee and Ron Wyden (and maybe others by midnight), may have stopped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's PATRIOT Act extension bills (if the filibuster lasts until midnight) from consideration before Memorial Day. There's a ton of confusion about what's happening right now in the Senate regarding surveillance reform. Not just about the general brinksmanship that's been developing, but about why, right now, Paul is filibustering, along with Heinrich, Lee, Wyden and…
 
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    Deeplinks

  • The Clock is Still Running: Neither NSA Reform Nor Reauthorization Advances in Senate

    22 May 2015 | 10:51 pm
    Tonight, the US Senate failed to move ahead with the USA Freedom Act, an NSA reform bill that would address phone record surveillance and FISA Court transparency and fairness. It also was unable to muster votes for a temporary reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the section of law used to justify the mass phone records surveillance program. That’s good news: if the Senate stalemate continues, the mass surveillance of everyone’s phone records will simply expire on June 1. Section 215 of the Patriot Act has been wrongly interpreted in secret by the government for years. We…
  • Oversight Report on FBI’s Use of Patriot Act Highlights Need for Intelligence Reform at Crucial Moment

    22 May 2015 | 5:39 pm
    The Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) yesterday released another report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act between 2007 and 2009. The report was long delayed due to declassification and redaction issues, but the timing is appropriate considering that the Senate is spending the waning hours of its legislative session considering the impending expiration of Section 215. That’s because the OIG report heightens the case for meaningful reform of the intelligence community by undermining many of the flimsy defenses offered…
  • Why Mitch McConnell Cannot Be Allowed to Decide the Fate of the Patriot Act

    22 May 2015 | 3:55 pm
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear this week that, while the Senate is rapidly approaching recess, the Senate “will stay in [session] until a deal is struck to extend” the Patriot Act. McConnell has also introduced legislation for both long-term and short-term reauthorization of the Patriot Act’s expiring provisions. It seems that McConnell is trying to bully the entire Senate into passing short-term reauthorization, giving him more time to further weaken reform efforts.A look at McConnell’s history makes this unblinking support of unconstitutional surveillance…
  • The Unexpected Policy Laundering Implications of the Garcia v. Google Dissent

    22 May 2015 | 2:13 pm
    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week sensibly, if belatedly, reversed its mistaken order requiring Google to take down a controversial video based on a specious copyright claim. But there’s more to this story than the free speech win. Unfortunately, Judge Alex Kozinski's dissent points to an alarming policy laundering trend in its reliance on the Beijing Treaty for Audiovisual Performances, a deeply problematic international agreement that the United States has signed but not yet ratified. Two major factors make Judge Kozinski's dependence on the Beijing Treaty a stretch. For one,…
  • Victory: Photo Hobbyist Prevails Over Junk-Patent Bully

    22 May 2015 | 11:12 am
    Garfum Abandons Case Against ‘Vote-For-Your-Favorite’ Online CompetitionsCamden, New Jersey – Patent bully Garfum has abandoned its lawsuit against an online photo hobbyist, just one day after a federal judge set the date for a face-off in court against lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). EFF together with Durie Tangri LLP represent Bytephoto.com, which has hosted user-submitted photos and run competitions for the best since 2003. In 2007, a company called Garfum.com applied for a patent on the “Method of Sharing Multi-Media Content Among Users in a Global Computer…
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    The Fine Print: blog posts from Center for Effective Government

  • Government Wins Protection for 33.8 Million Drivers in Largest Product Recall in U.S. History

    sklinger
    22 May 2015 | 6:16 am
    Imagine you’re hit from behind while driving. Your vehicles airbags deploy, but instead of cushioning you, bits of metal shrapnel are sent flying. That’s what has happened to more than 100 drivers since 2007. Six deaths and more than 100 injuries have been attributed to defects in the small component that inflates the airbag. It seems humidity degrades the casing around the chemicals, causing the inflator to sometimes explode. The components’ Japanese manufacturer, Takata, has been slow to accept responsibility for this defective product. The National Highway Transportation…
  • Meet the 25 Hedge Fund Managers Whose $2.2 Billion Tax Break Could Pay for 50,000 Highway Construction Jobs

    sklinger
    21 May 2015 | 11:44 am
    Congress is trying to figure out how to come up with $10 billion to extend funding for the nation’s Highway Trust Fund for a year.  Without action, it will run dry at the end of this month. Here’s a suggestion: tax hedge fund managers in the same way we tax other rich Americans. The 25 top hedge fund managers who made Institutional Investors annual “Rich List” in 2014 took home $11.62 billion. And thanks to the hedge fund pay loophole, known in Washington D.C. as the "carried interest" loophole, these top twenty-five managers saved an estimated $2.2…
  • The Public Wants EPA – Not Congress – to Protect Our Drinking Water

    afrank
    21 May 2015 | 10:00 am
    A nationwide poll by Hart Research Associates found that Americans overwhelmingly support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Rule. The rule will clarify what waters EPA can protect under the Clean Water Act. For over 40 years, EPA has protected our surface waters from industrial pollution through the Clean Water Act. Before the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, industrial plants had few regulations preventing them from dumping toxics and wastes into rivers and streams. When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in 1969, it brought national attention to the issue of water…
  • Banning Fracking Bans: The Paradox of Local Control

    afrank
    19 May 2015 | 9:50 am
    There is a new paradox emerging in the fracking debate.   The oil and gas industry firmly opposes federal fracking standards, claiming that states know best how to govern their own lands. States are currently responsible for the majority of industry oversight, and rules can vary significantly among them. But this staunch support for local control doesn’t extend to counties and cities. At least, it doesn’t when those locals are not interested in having fracking in their backyard. Drilling companies have supported state efforts to strip communities of their rights to ban…
  • The U.S. Corporate Tax Rate Isn’t a Threat to Business, but Crumbling Infrastructure Is

    sklinger
    18 May 2015 | 11:31 am
    Our country’s once-robust infrastructure has played a vital role in the success of our economy. Roads, bridges, and transportation systems are the heart and blood of commerce and give consumers easy access to goods and services. Our public schools produce the next generation of workers. Infrastructure has never been a partisan issue in this country; everyone knows it is essential. Unfortunately, paying for these investments seems to have become a partisan fault line. The need is pressing: funding for highway construction is set to run out. Congress is scrambling to find $10 billion…
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    Sunlight Foundation Blog

  • Heading to International Open Data Conference 2015? We’ll see you there!

    Lindsay Ferris
    22 May 2015 | 8:10 am
    Next week, Sunlight, alongside nearly 2,000 open government advocates, civic hackers, journalists and policymakers from around the world, will be headed to Ottawa for the 3rd Annual International Open Data Conference (IODC). It is going to be a week jam-packed with discussions, panels and interactive workshops centered around one central question: How can we use data to make government more transparent and accountable? IODC 2015 presents us with an excellent opportunity to brainstorm on how to tackle the common challenges within our community. We hope that hearing from the global leaders in…
  • Deletes of the Week: From 'Let Our Congress Tweet' to Politwoops, we've come a long way

    Nicko Margolies
    21 May 2015 | 10:00 pm
    View from House floor deleted after member learned it broke the rules. Image via Politwoops. Since the U.S. version of Politwoops began nearly three years ago, it's enabled journalists to sift through retracted public statements of politicians and, in the words of The Atlantic, added "another layer of accountability to the churning machine of political communications." But political communications didn't always churn away online. Up until 2008, it was against the rules for members of Congress to post "official communications" on nonofficial websites, such as Twitter or YouTube. In a report in…
  • Get to the gyrocopter: Congress should follow Doug Hughes' lead and embrace campaign finance reforms

    Matthew Rumsey
    21 May 2015 | 8:19 am
    A gyrocopter, similar to what Doug Hughes used to land on the Capitol lawn. (Photo credit: Paul Campbell/Flickr) Doug Hughes, the 61-year-old postal worker who landed his gyrocopter on the Capitol lawn to protest “the corrosive influence of money in our political system,” is due in court in Washington today. He faces two felonies, four misdemeanors and possibly 9 1/2 years in prison. Last weekend, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining his act of civil disobedience, pointing to the growing movement of reforming the way that money flows through our politics and…
  • A lot of Washington influence is never disclosed

    Bill Allison
    20 May 2015 | 9:01 pm
    (Image credit: Sunlight Foundation) There’s a lot more influence peddling in Washington than is ever disclosed to the public. As my colleague Peter Olsen-Phillips demonstrated in a piece on Tuesday, defense giant Northrop Grumman employs dozens of people, many of whom came from prominent positions in government service, whose titles and online biographies indicate that their jobs involve interaction with government officials — but do not register as lobbyists. Included in that list are not one but two former generals who led missile commands for the Army and Air Force and now oversee the…
  • Sens. Paul and Wyden may be stopping "clean" reauthorization of Section 215 right now

    Sean Vitka
    20 May 2015 | 3:45 pm
    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr) Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., with the aid of Sens. Martin Heinrich, Mike Lee and Ron Wyden (and maybe others by midnight), may have stopped Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's PATRIOT Act extension bills (if the filibuster lasts until midnight) from consideration before Memorial Day. There's a ton of confusion about what's happening right now in the Senate regarding surveillance reform. Not just about the general brinksmanship that's been developing, but about why, right now, Paul is filibustering, along with Heinrich, Lee, Wyden and…
 
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    Federation Of American Scientists » Secrecy News Blog Posts

  • Tracking Federal Funds, and More from CRS

    Steven Aftergood
    22 May 2015 | 7:52 am
    “Finding data on federal grants and contracts awarded to states and congressional districts, local governments, nonprofit organizations, contractors, and other eligible entities may present challenges,” a new report from the Congressional Research Service observes. The various tools that are available to help meet those challenges are cataloged and described by CRS in Tracking Federal Funds: USAspending.gov and Other Data Sources, May 13, 2015. Other noteworthy new and updated CRS reports include the following. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: Ongoing Outbreak, CRS Insights, May…
  • Air Force: Cyber Warriors Need Plenty of Rest

    Steven Aftergood
    20 May 2015 | 6:37 am
    New guidance from the U.S. Air Force on the use of cyberspace weapons directs Air Force personnel to get a good night’s sleep prior to performing military cyberspace operations and to refrain from alcohol while on duty. “Crew rest is compulsory for any crew member prior to performing any crew duty on any cyber weapon system,” the May 5 guidance says. “Each crew member is individually responsible to ensure he or she obtains sufficient rest during crew rest periods.” Furthermore, “Crew members will not perform cyberspace mission duties within 12 hours of…
  • Average U.S. Troop Cost Nearly Doubled Since 1980

    Steven Aftergood
    20 May 2015 | 6:28 am
    The average cost to the U.S. defense budget per individual troop member has increased sharply over the past few decades, a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service found, reflecting changes in the size and structure of the U.S. military. “Since FY1980, the cost per troop–for all expenses ranging from pay to procurement–has almost doubled in real terms from $200,000 per troop in FY1980 to $390,000 per troop in [the] FY2016 request,” the CRS report noted. The rising average troop cost figures were presented as part of a larger CRS analysis of Defense Spending…
  • ODNI: Annexes to Intelligence Bills are not “Secret Law”

    Steven Aftergood
    18 May 2015 | 9:46 am
    A recent article in Secrecy News indicated that the classified annexes that accompany the annual intelligence authorization bills are legally binding and constitute “secret law” (A Growing Body of Secret Intelligence Law, May 4). Robert S. Litt, the General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, wrote in last week to dispute that characterization: I read your piece on secret law and the classified annex to the Intelligence Authorization bills with interest.  I thought it was worth responding to let you know that I believe you are incorrect in saying that…
  • Army Manual Withdrawn in Plagiarism Flap

    Steven Aftergood
    13 May 2015 | 8:45 am
    Last month, the U.S. Army issued a new doctrinal publication entitled Cultural and Situational Understanding. This month, the publication was officially withdrawn by the Army after numerous instances of plagiarism were identified throughout the document. Prof. Roberto J. Gonzalez authored a blistering critique of the publication (The US Army’s Serial Plagiarists, Counterpunch, May 1), providing one example after another of pilfered text that had been incorporated without acknowledgment or attribution to the source. “As I began reading, I found the sections to be oddly disjointed;…
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    Free Proxy

  • Proxy europe list

    16 May 2015 | 1:06 pm
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    Coding Defined

  • Vorlon.js - Remotely Test and Debug JavaScript Code

    Hemant Joshi
    22 May 2015 | 9:10 pm
    In this post we are going to discuss about Vorlon.JS, an open source tool for remotely debugging and testing your JavaScript. The good thing about this is, it is powered by node.js and socket.io. Importance of Vorlon.js is that it helps you to remotely debug (connect upto 50 devices simultaneously) and test your JavaScript code running on any device, with the help of a web browser.PC: http://www.vorlonjs.com/To Setup Vorlon you need to install it using npm npm i -g vorlon and then run vorlon. It will start your server on port 1337. You need to enable Vorlon.JS by adding <script…
  • Get and Set Property in TypeScript

    Hemant Joshi
    20 May 2015 | 9:29 am
    In this post we are going to discuss about Get and Set property in TypeScript. In our previous posts we have discussed about Classes in TypeScript and Functions in TypeScript, in this post we will continue our discussion on TypeScript with Get and Set property.Get and Set Properties are actually called Accessors. Accessors of a property contains executable statements associated with getting (reading) or setting (writing) the property. The declarations can contain get accessor or set accessor or both.Example : Use of Get and Set in TypeScriptclass Test {    private _testField: string…
  • Generics in TypeScript

    Hemant Joshi
    19 May 2015 | 7:29 am
    In this post we are going to discuss about generics in TypeScript. Generics are the code templates that can be used throughout your application. Like Interfaces in Typescript, Generics are also available only in compile-time which means there is no concept of Generics in compiled JavaScript.As mentioned Generics are the code templates that relies on type <T>, that can be used throughout your code bases. The importance of using Generics are cod is not duplicated for multiple types of data which means it provides us more flexibility when working with different data types. It can use as a…
  • Pass command line arguments in NodeJS

    Hemant Joshi
    4 May 2015 | 9:18 am
    In this post we are going to learn about how to pass command line arguments in NodeJS. It is possible to pass some values from the command line to your NodeJS application when the application is executed. These values are called Command Line Arguments and sometimes they are important when you want to control your program from outside the application.There are number of ways you can pass command line arguments in your NodeJS application and they are :1. Using process.argvAccording to Nodejs.org, process.argv is an array containing the command line arguments. The first element will be 'node',…
  • Visual Studio Code Preview- Visual Studio for Linux, Mac OSX and Windows

    Hemant Joshi
    1 May 2015 | 12:02 am
    In this post we are going to discuss about Visual Studio Code - A Visual studio for Linux, Mac OSX and Windows. Yes you heard it right, Visual Studio Code free and available on your favorite platform whether it is Linux or Mac OSX or Windows.According to Visual Studio, "Code editing redefined and optimized for building and debugging modern web and cloud applications".PC : https://www.visualstudio.com/products/code-vs.aspxThe important features of Visual Studio Code are :1. Platform Independent : It can run on any platform whether it is Linux or Mac OSX or Windows. You can run on any OS…
 
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    FOIA Advisor

  • FOIA News: Dep't of State's political leadership "neither reviews nor approves" releases of FOIA records, IG told Congress in 2010

    Allan Blutstein
    21 May 2015 | 10:20 pm
    Following up on the Wall Street Journal's recent article (Hillary Clinton’s State Department Staff Kept Tight Rein on Records, May 19, 2015), which we posted on this site, it behooves us to at least point out that the Department of State's Inspector General reported the following "key judgments" in response to an August 2010 congressional inquiry into the role of political appointees in the FOIA process:     • OIG found no indication that Department of State (Department) political leadership approves,…
  • Court opinions issued May 20, 2015

    Allan Blutstein
    21 May 2015 | 8:25 pm
     Am. Civil Liberties Union v. CIA (D.D.C.) -- ruling that a report drafted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concerning CIA's former detention and interrogation program is a congressional record not subject to FOIA; further ruling that documents pertaining to an internal CIA review were properly withheld pursuant to Exemptions 1, 3, and 5, as discussed in Leopold v. CIA (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2015), which concerned same material.  Related article from Courthouse News Service here.List of all cases since April 2015 here
  • Q&A: disappearance of NYC communist in 1937

    Allan Blutstein
    21 May 2015 | 7:48 pm
    Q.   Is the New York Police Department required to follow FOIA rules? I have been trying to read the files on Juliet Stuart Poyntz, but the NYPD says there are none and that I'll need a lawyer to pursue the matter.  I was under the impression that the federal government along with state and local agencies are required to respond to FOIA requests? Is that correct or not?A.  Yes, the NYPD is subject to the State of New York's Freedom of Information Law.  Given the age of any relevant records, however, I would not expect the NYPD to…
  • Court opinions issued May 19, 2015

    Allan Blutstein
    20 May 2015 | 7:57 pm
    Neary v. FDIC (D.D.C.) -- dismissing plaintiff's case seeking the names, addresses  and interview dates of certain rejected job applicants.  The court found that the FDIC properly withheld responsive records pursuant to Exemption 6, because plaintiff's unsubstantiated allegations of age discrimination did not outweigh the privacy interests of the rejected applicants.  Although certain requested information was publicly accessible for a brief time period, the court held that the information remained practically obscure and the…
  • Q&A: New Jersey criminal record from 1974

    Allan Blutstein
    20 May 2015 | 7:09 pm
    Q.  How do I get a copy of a misdemeanor conviction that happened in New Jersey in 1974?A.  If you want to obtain records about yourself, you may submit a request to the New Jersey State Police or to the FBI.  You might also be able to obtain a "court disposition" from the court that presided over the case.  A list of New Jersey trial courts are available here.  Certain criminal information is accessible to the public via a New Jersey Judiciary database, but it does not include information before…
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