Between Federal Agencies

Create Institutions to Evaluate Agency Transparency

The president should create a Dissemination/Transparency Working Group made up of new agency Senior Dissemination/Transparency Officers and task it to establish metrics for outcome (not process) to assess agency transparency and use them to regularly evaluate and report on progress. The group would be headed by the Government Transparency Officer. The working group must fully include outside participants. The Dissemination/Transparency Working Group should be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

 

The president should create a public interest review board to advise the government on information dissemination and to provide advice when an agency refuses to disseminate information to the public. Two potential models are administrative law judges and the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).

 

Administrative law judges preside at an administrative trial-type hearing to resolve a dispute between a government agency and someone affected by a decision of that agency. In adjudicating cases before them, Administrative Law Judges conduct formal trial-type hearings, make findings of fact and law, apply agency regulations, and issue either initial or recommended decisions. Administrative Law Judges have complete decisional independence, and to protect that independence, have "tenure very similar to that provided for Federal judges under the Constitution."

 

The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) provides the public and users of the classification system with a forum for further review of classification decisions. ISCAP’s effectiveness as a model is in the disclosures it facilitates in the first place: agencies like to avoid the specter of being reversed on appeal, so they go ahead and release more information on their own than they would otherwise.

 

This board would be distinct from the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), which is an advisory committee established by Congress in order to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities.

 

- From the 21st Century RTK Agenda

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Idea No. 248