Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweeping changes to Bush era secrecy doctrine

This may not get much of the attention it deserves and so I post it here. According to a NY Times report this morning, and I quote, " President Obama declared on Tuesday that 'no information may remain classified indefinitely' as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch’s system for protecting classified national security information.

In an executive order and an accompanying presidential memorandum to agency heads, Mr. Obama signaled that the government should try harder to make information public if possible, including by requiring agencies to regularly review what kinds of information they classify and to eliminate any obsolete secrecy requirements."

This is a breakthrough in government openness and a major accomplishment for President Obama. This was a campaign pledge fulfilled as well. More excerpts from the NY Times article: He also established a new National Declassification Center at the National Archives to speed the process of declassifying historical documents by centralizing their review, rather than sending them in sequence to different agencies. He set a four-year deadline for processing a 400-million-page backlog of such records that includes archives related to military operations during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars."

Bravo Mr. President!!!

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Blogger Minneloushe said...

This is the work of my friend Beth Noveck, who is working with Vivek Kundra. Beth is Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government in the Whitehouse Office of Information and Technology Policy. She is brilliant, and caring: A brain with a loving heart. I know her since she was about 14 years old, and her mom is one of my dearest friends (also brilliant). One of the reasons I have faith in Obama is that I don't think Beth would work for anyone she did not respect both intellectually and morally. I have a snapshot of her with Michelle Obama taped to my monitor here at the office.
By the way - I read that insurance company stocks did go down when the Health Care bill passed the Senate. And if Krugman is willing to say "Pass the bill" then I guess it is good enough for me, too.
Thanks for noticing Beth's work. It is quiet, but big. What she is doing should eventually save lots of money, as well - by having all areas of government share data much more effectively with other areas, and with the public.
Warm regards from icy New York City. / jw

7:02 AM  
Blogger Minneloushe said...

Here is the URL for a post by Beth in the blog of the Office of Science and Technology Policy:

7:05 AM  
Blogger Charles Amico said...

Thanks JW, and thanks for the link. Most people I have talked to didn't even know that this has been done. Only 1 person in 5 knew anything about it so all the publicity it can get is welcome.

Happy New Years in New York City. Here in the Bay area, I will be watching the ball drop at Times Square as I am a Boston east coaster at heart and birth. :)

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

No free society can exist if the leaders start doing everything behind the curtain. This is indeed an important step towards restoring us to where we need to be, but there is much more to be done at all levels of Government.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Oldbuddy said...

Remember back when Ronald Reagan
was President? We also had Bob Hope and Johnny Cash.

Now we have Obama as President and no hope and no cash!

7:36 AM  
Blogger Charles Amico said...

A short comment to OldBuddy. I would like you to look at an earlier post titled, "Concerns about the National Debt versus Healthcare reform: Are the Republicans right screaming about Democrats making the Country broke?" You will see just how much Reagan contributed to the fact we lost both Hope and Cash under his stewardship. Just look at the chart and the Republicans contribution to the National debt. 82% of the National Debt came from Republican Presidents! Sorry to burst your bubble on the first day of the new year but get ready for a lot more of it throughout the year as many more join my ranks of waking up as to who really is to blame for the mess in our country. Happy New Year!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Minneloushe said...

Charles, I agree. And of course, there is plenty of blame to go around - the Dems are not pure as the driven snow; far from it.

I hope that Beth Noveck's quiet influence will have a repercuting beneficial effect on government, making it more collaborative (see her book "Wiki Government") and more transparent (or at least, translucent, LOL).

As for our old buddy: I actually am full of hope, despite knowing that change, if it comes at all, comes only slowly. I take heart from Voltaire, who noticed that "there is no evil from which some good does not come." May this give us all - left/right/center - sustenance and optimism for the whole of this new decade. / jw

10:03 AM  
Blogger jackncarolee said...

Johnny Cash was more progressive/liberal than is commonly thought!

3:46 PM  

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