Three members of the House Judiciary Committee have voiced their concerns to Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano regarding the DHS's seizure of domain names as part of Operation In Our Sites.
The criminal investigation into the deaths of two CIA detainees has ended, the Justice Department said Aug. 30. The investigation mainly looked at whether CIA interrogators used any unauthorized interrogation techniques that could constitute torture. DOJ did not seek to prosecute anyone who acted within the scope of the Office of Legal Counsel's guidance.
A 3 year effort to speed up responses to Freedom of Information Act programs has had mixed results at 16 federal agencies, in many cases resulting in more backlogged requests and the increased use of exemptions to withhold information, the GAO finds. Auditors also find that many electronic FOIA libraries are "sparsely populated" because the agencies aren't ensuring frequently requested records are identified and posted online.
Thirty-nine percent of the Justice Department's office of legal counsel opinions are partially or completely withheld from the public, according to research from the Sunlight Foundation outlined in an Aug. 15 blog post. This is despite a 2010 DOJ memo endorsing the "presumption that [OLC] should make significant opinions fully and promptly available to the public."The transparency watchdog analyzed a cache of 15 years-worth of OLC opinions obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and published by Government Attic.
The fields of green in an August Justice Department traffic-light scoring report on agency Freedom of Information Act administration are an exaggeration, says the National Security Archive at George Washington University. "The true state of FOIA in the US is markedly more mixed; the DOJ OIP is engaging in grade inflation," says Nate Jones, archive freedom of information coordinator.
Few federal cost estimates for information technology programs chosen by the Government Accountability Office for a review are credible--and their parent agencies typically have significant weaknesses in cost-estimating policies and procedures--the GAO says.
State data is too unreliable for the Justice Department to reward or penalize states for how many records they've entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the Government Accountability Office says. The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, enacted in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting, designed incentives for states to share more records in NICS--which is voluntary. But those incentives depend on knowing the total number of records a state has that are eligible for the system.
A California long distance and mobile phone service operator is challenging the federal government in court over the validity of an order to turn over customer records and keep the existence of that order a secret. In a petition filed May 2, 2011 in the district court of northern California, the anonymous company, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, challenges the constitutionality of FBI national security letters and the gag order that accompanies them in a case that rests heavily on the First Amendment.
The lawsuit (.pdf), filed July 3 by James Aziz Makowski, a naturalized citizen who was wrongly identified in 2010 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as an illegal immigrant, asserts that the program violates the Privacy Act in two ways.
President Obama signed an executive order July 7 directing the Homeland Security Department to establish a new center with industry capable of stepping in to provide communications connectivity to government "under all conditions."The order also details responsibilities for particular agencies, assigning to the Commerce Department development of guidance on the use of technical standards and metrics.