The right of the people to know, and the ability to hold government accountable, rests on an open and transparent government and a free press.
Congress has largely abdicated its oversight responsibility. Instead, journalists, advocates and muckrakers must dig for the truth, using the Freedom of Information Act and state and local Public Records laws to liberate government documents. Whistleblowers play a vital role exposing government wrong-doing and ineptitude, but are often prosecuted. In recent years, the war on transparency has escalated as more government workers are prohibited from speaking with the media, and retaliation against whistleblowers gets ever more vicious.
The rule of law has been turned on its head, when crimes are made public (such as the war crimes exposed by Chelsea Manning, the CIA torture program exposed by John Kiriakou, or the NSA/FBI mass surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden), it is the whistleblower, not the war criminals and torturers who are prosecuted.
The CLOUD Act would require that foreign governments get their requests for an individual’s data approved by the executive branch instead of an independent U.S. judge,
Gina Haspel should be subject to a criminal investigation, not running the CIA. Defending Rights & Dissent adamantly opposes her nomination and calls upon the Senate to reject her.
Coalition to Congress: Uphold Section 504 of the National Security Act. In other words, don’t let intelligence agencies move money around behind Congress’ back.
A dozen civil liberties, open government, and accountability organizations joined Defending Rights & Dissent to protest a provision included in the Continuing Resolution Congress passed to end the government shutdown on January 22.
Right to Know, Freedom to Act: A FOIA Briefing for Activists, Citizen Journalists, and Other Troublemakers (Updated With Recording)
This introductory briefing will cover the basic mechanics of filing a FOIA request, how journalists, activists, or just everyday citizens can use FOIA, and the current landscape for FOIA policy under the Trump administration.
Victory for Journalists, Whistleblowers, and Activists As Key Provisions of Ag-Gag Law Found to Be Unconstitutional
In a victory for journalists, whistleblowers, and activists, on January 4, 2018 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down key provisions of Idaho’s ag-gag as unconstitutional. Defending Rights & Dissent has long asserted ag-gag laws are unconstitutional.