Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Transparency & Open Government Requires some Minimun Standards

The Open Government Movement is gaining momentum.  Transparency is a common buzz word in many Campaigns.  A few seated Congress Members are beginning to use the catch phrases, or should I say MIS-USE the phrases. see the example below.

So perhaps, it's time for the Movement to create some Minimum Standards for Open Government & Transparency for all to use. 
Our first suggestion is:

  • If you are publishing a communication about Legislation - Include the Bill Number!
This is a great start, and much needed if we hope to get to Accountability.

Example Press Release:
Republicans Oppose Democrats' Do-Over Intelligence Bill

Washington, Feb 26 - U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, joined with fellow Republicans to oppose the flawed, extraordinarily delayed Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Bill that was not updated to address the two terrorist attacks on the homeland that occurred since it was passed by the committee eight months ago.

"After an eight month delay voting on this intelligence bill, Democrats have refused to update it to reflect the flaws exposed by the Obama administration’s mishandling of the Detroit and Fort Hood terrorist attacks," Hoekstra said. "Instead Democrats tried to update it to target the CIA and intelligence community before beating a hasty retreat in the face of Republican and public opposition. Now on their latest attempt to pass the bill, the same Democrats who pursued the CIA over enhanced interrogations are refusing to hold Congress accountable for its bipartisan role in approving those techniques.

"This is a transparency and accountability moment for Congress, but now that the lights are on, Democrats are nowhere to be found. They are willing to investigate everyone but themselves. Congressional Republicans are willing to be held accountable and stand where we stood — with the intelligence community to help protect America."

Hoekstra and Republicans offered a motion to the bill that asked the CIA Inspector General to conduct an independent review of whether any member of Congress objected to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, to review the steps that were taken, and to require release of interrogation briefing memos. The Republican motion also would clarify that the Director of National Intelligence should be in charge of coordinating the interrogation of terrorists and ensure that all actionable intelligence has been collected before a terrorist is Mirandized.

"Our first priority has to be the collection of intelligence when we capture terrorists and enemy combatants," Hoekstra said. "Offering a terrorist the right to remain silent and get a lawyer would seem like the last thing we would want to do. Intelligence is a perishable asset, and while a captured terrorist lawyers up, our forces on the front lines, our allies and our nation will be put at greater risk."

Hoekstra and Republicans have raised a number of substantive questions and issues with the Obama administration’s confused and conflicted handling of the attacks, including the flawed decision to Mirandize Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The decision delayed for several weeks the collection of vital intelligence on the al-Qaeda threat emanating from Yemen, and resulted in the Obama administration being forced to cut a deal with a terrorist who attempted to kill more than 300 innocent civilians in order to get information.

Hoekstra went on to say that taken as a whole, the bill has a number of deficiencies and shortcomings that precluded him from supporting it. He highlighted the fact that Republicans, as shown by their public record of support and support for classified resources, have always fought and will continue to fight to give the men and women of America’s intelligence community the tools, authorities, and resources they need in order to detect, disrupt and prevent the next attack.

"America’s intelligence professionals are risking it all on the frontlines to protect our nation, and they shouldn’t have to face unwarranted criminal prosecution to do it," Hoekstra said. "This bill fails to address a number of major national security issues that have emerged since it was first drafted months ago. For this reason, I and a number of my colleagues could not support this bill. As always, Republicans stand ready to work with Democrats and the president to pass a meaningful intelligence authorization bill that fully supports those we ask to serve at the tip of the spear."

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