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.
Grassley, Leahy, Cornyn, Feinstein Introduce Bill to Reinforce Transparency in Wake of Supreme Court FOIA Decision and Recent Regulations
The Open and Responsive Government Act (S. 2220), will reverse recent developments that undermine the public’s right to access information and hold government accountable.
Whistleblowers, Journalists, and Free Press Advocates Condemn Espionage Act Charges Against Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale
One hundred and seventy three individuals and 50 organizations have joined Defending Rights & Dissent, Roots Action, and the Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR) at Expose Facts in condemning the Espionage Act charges against drone whistleblower Daniel Hale. Included among the signatories are other whistleblowers who have been victims of Espionage Act abuse, including Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, John Kiriakiou, and Jeffrey Sterling.
Private prisons are caging children for profit, denying them basic human rights and bare necessities. It’s unconscionable.And yet, we may not even know the worst of it, because private prisons are able to operate in the shadows, shielded from accountability by a loophole in the law.
Open and transparent government took another hit when the Supreme Court ruled to broaden the definition of “confidential” materials that are exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.