Gina Haspel's Nomination Vigorously Opposed

Open the Government expressed its opposition to Gina Haspel for CIA Director. In a press release and fact sheet , OTG said that senators should not support Haspel's nomination because she is reported to have played an operational role in torture and to have displayed a disregard for transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. Ms. Haspel reportedly held a leadership position at a CIA “black site” in Thailand at a time when at least one detainee was subjected to the most brutal “enhanced interrogation” technique: waterboarding. She may also have been in a position of responsibility, off-site, over the same secret prison when another detainee was tortured nearly to death there.

Furthermore, in November 2005, amid increasing public outrage over revelations of torture, the CIA destroyed 92 videotapes of interrogations at clandestine facilities elsewhere. The incident was a clear violation of the Federal Records Act as well as a court order in a Freedom of Information Act case at the time, and indicated that some CIA officials felt they were not subject to accountability and above the law. In his book, former CIA Acting General Counsel John Rizzo says Ms. Haspel was one of the “staunchest advocates inside the building for destroying the tapes.”


Protection Sought for Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Open the Government supports the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and David Cicilline (D-RI). The bill seeks to preserve the work of the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 election, in the event the Trump Administration dismisses Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
 
The Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018 requires Mueller, or any future special counsels, to produce a report on the results of their investigations to Congress within two weeks of being removed. It also requires the Attorney General to submit a separate report detailing the status of the investigation at the time of the firing. If the Attorney General is recused, as is the case with Jeff Sessions stepping aside in the Mueller investigation, the next most senior official in the Justice Department must deliver the report.
 

Open the Government is featuring the work of our valued partners in our newsletter. Check out our latest interview with the Government Accountability Project ' s Executive Director and CEO Louis Clark.

If your Washington, DC-based organization is interested in appearing in a video discussing your important work, please email Wayne Besen: wbesen@openthegovernment.org .

The 15th Annual Ridenhour Prizes Feature Truth-Tellers and Their Inspiring Stories

It was a banner day for truth-tellers in Washington this week. The Nation Institute, Fertel Foundation and Stewart R. Mott Foundation hosted the 15th Annual Ridenhour Prizes at the National Press Club.

The prestigious event recognizes those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public-interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society. These prizes memorialize the fearless truth-telling that whistleblower and investigative journalist Ron Ridenhour reflected throughout his extraordinary life and career.

The event, emceed by the Project on Government Oversight's Danielle Brian , offered awards to courageous and noble voices, who have spoken truth to power, bucked fierce resistance, and overcome entrenched opposition to provide thought-provoking critiques of society and ushered in desperately needed cultural change.

The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize: Director Joe Piscatella, for making Joshua : Teenager Vs. Superpower .

The Ridenhour Courage Prize: Tarana Burke , founder of the #MeToo Movement

The Ridenhour Book Prize: Lauren Markham , The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

The Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling: Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico


GAP's Dana Gold highlights the difference between leaking and whistleblowing


Sunlight Foundation's Alex Howard: Facebook’s commitments to transparency before Congress are welcome, but insufficient

Just Security: What the Senate Needs to Ask Gina Haspel (Written by POGO's Katherine Hawkins )



Letter: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Kevin Chmielewski, has raised questions that have many in Congress concerned



W. Post: How the FBI uses the Freedom of Information Act to track down whistleblowers