The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Congress Passes Important Bill To Reduce Government Secrecy

Legislation Will Curb Over-Classification Of Information


bill that will help reduce government secrecy was passed by both the
House and Senate Tuesday night. The Reducing Over-Classification Act,
introduced by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), will help increase government
accountability by creating new methods to curb needless
over-classification, including mandated evaluations by relevant agency
Inspectors General and the creation of a Classified Information Advisory

bill also requires that government agencies have policies to improve
information sharing and produce unclassified versions of classified
intelligence for state and local governments. It also codifies improved
training requirements for government employees who classify information,
which will lead to less unnecessary or erroneous classification.
The American Civil Liberties Union lauded the bill's passage and urged President Obama to swiftly sign it into law.
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
commend Rep. Harman for introducing legislation to address the serious
problem of over-classification. The Reducing Over-Classification Act is
an important step toward reining in government secrecy and recognizes
Congress' crucial role in addressing that problem. We are hopeful that
this bill will lead to a new era of government transparency, and urge
President Obama to sign it into law as soon as possible."
The following can be attributed to Michael German, ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI agent:
bill establishes real and workable methods for reducing
over-classification. By both creating and improving oversight
mechanisms, the Reducing Over-Classification Act will help to increase
government accountability. With the passage of this bill, Congress can
begin to address the ongoing problems of government agencies hiding or
concealing information without cause."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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