Freedom of Information
Court Orders FBI to Release Withheld Information
As often happens, the Federal Bureau of Investigation invoked national security a few years ago to justify withholding certain information from a Freedom of Information Act requester named Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler.
But as rarely happens, a court last month critically assessed the FBI national security claim and ordered the Bureau to release some of the withheld information.
Kiriakou Pleads Guilty in Leak Case
This morning former CIA officer John Kiriakou pleaded guilty to one count of disclosure of information identifying a covert agent, a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
“When KIRIAKOU disclosed the identity of Officer A to Journalist A, KIRIAKOU acted willfully in that defendant knew the disclosure was illegal,” according to a Statement of Facts approved and signed by Mr. Kiriakou today.
Stephen King’s ‘Different Seasons’: Banned, briefly, at Rocklin High School
“Think about Stephen King books with disturbing themes and the tale of the Overlook, a malevolent hotel, might come to mind, or Christine, a malevolent Plymouth. As a bestselling horror novelist, King made his bones and his fortune by frightening the wits out of readers. Yet it was his collection of non-horror novellas with themes more societal than scary that was briefly banned this month from a high school outside Sacramento.”
DLC Annual Meeting and Conference
The Government Relations Office staff is attending the Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference this week in Arlington, VA!
In addition to educational sessions offered by government agencies and librarians, the Government Printing Office will be presenting the preliminary results from the FDLP Forecast Study, and you can tune in online. More information is available on the FDLP Desktop, and a transcript will be available after the event.
Conservatives’ Tax Strategy: Use Economic Fears to Cut Taxes for the Wealthy
Congressional conservatives have revealed their negotiating strategy for dealing with the fiscal cliff slope: scare the public and congressional Democrats into a deal that reduces the deficit through spending cuts alone. These fears have been blown out of proportion. A fiscal Armageddon will not happen on Jan. 1, 2013.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tipped their strategy when they responded to a speech by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who called on Democrats to fight to retain Clinton-era income tax levels for upper-income households. Schumer urged Democrats to allow the top two income tax brackets to revert back to 36 and 39.6 percent (from their current levels – 33 and 35 percent) and to increase the capital gains tax rate to some level below 40 percent (from today’s 15 percent).
D.C. Council members push for longer library hour
“D.C. library advocates told D.C. Council members Thursday that they want libraries to be open longer, but are worried that extra hours would mean more staffing. “We want extended hours, but there needs to be funding to staff these hours,” said Susan B. Haight, president of the Federation of Friends of the DC Public Library. “My concern is that legislation will be passed and the funding will not follow. An unfunded mandate does not work for us.”
Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board Invites Public Input
The long-dormant Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) announced that it will hold its first public meeting next week and it invited members of the public to provide input to help shape the Board’s near-term agenda.
“In anticipation of setting the agenda of issues on which the Board will focus its attention, the Board would welcome the views of nongovernmental organizations and members of the public,” stated a notice in the October 23 Federal Register.
Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules
As of Oct. 15, oil and gas operators must notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via e-mail two days in advance of extracting natural gas from a hydraulically fractured or refractured well. This notification requirement is part of EPA’s new Clean Air Act (CAA) standards, which will reduce emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during natural gas production by requiring “green completions” after January 2015. Industry opposes the standards, but a new report shows they are crucial to protecting the public.
The oil and gas industry appears to be ramping up its lobbying efforts to dismantle the new rule, beginning with criticism of the advance notice requirement that went into effect last week. In particular, drillers are upset that they must send the advance notice to EPA, preferring state regulation of hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking Continues to Expand Rapidly Despite New Evidence of Health Risks
Another public interest report has confirmed that shale gas extraction is creating new public health risks. However, the fracking boom grows unabated, and drilling is occurring near schools and other locations. This could lead to increased chemical exposures among children and other vulnerable populations.
Scaling Up Transparency: New Approaches Could Yield Greater Openness
Two reforms launched by federal agencies this month represent new approaches to more efficiently releasing government information. New websites to publish declassified documents and records released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) could set new precedents and improve on older practices by making the information available to everyone online.
iPads set to take over from books in school libraries, principal says
“Principal of Madison Park Primary David Lawton said books would become a “thing of the past”. “The day has arrived – iPads are here … look out books,” Mr Lawton told the News Review Messenger. “School library budgets are being lowered and our budgets for technology are higher, so it’s only a matter of time before technology takes over from the traditional way of teaching. “IPads are increasing the rate and quality of learning and schools have to lead in this area.”
Podcast: The Foreign Policy Auction with Ben Freeman
POGO’s Ben Freeman just released his book The Foreign Policy Auction, so we sat down with him to find out who is paying to change U.S. foreign policy and how.
Please feel free to pass along in part or in its entirety.
The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.