ACLU Urges House to Raise Curtain of Government Secrecy
WASHINGTON - As
the House moves towards a vote on legislation that would shine a light
on government secrecy, the American Civil Liberties Union praised
members pivotal in bringing the bill forward. The bill, H.R. 6575, the
Over-Classification Reduction Act, was introduced by House Government
Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA). Similar legislation
that would apply specifically to the Department of Homeland Security
was also introduced this year by Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA).
The following can be attributed Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
Waxman should be applauded for his efforts in moving this important
bill forward - not to mention Congresswoman Harman's equally important
work on her similar bill. Congress is finally getting serious about the
serious problem of over-classification. We are optimistic that this is
the first step towards a new age of government transparency. In
addition to enacting this legislation, Congress needs to follow through
by conducting thorough and regular oversight to ensure that agencies
aren't engaging in over-classification. It needs to be certain that the
new statutory regime is both effective and enforced.
has the power to curb excessive secrecy by aggressively pushing for
transparency and it should be using it. Having never done so before,
Congress could stem the tide of further abuse by exercising its
inherent authority to declassify any program it believes is illegal or
abusive. Hopefully the House will pass this legislation with the
overwhelming majority it deserves. We urge the Senate to quickly follow
suit so the president can sign this bill into law."
To read the ACLU's June testimony on over-classification, go to: http://www.aclu.org/natsec/
To learn more about the ACLU's work on government secrecy, go to: www.aclu.org/safeandfree/
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