Just days after President Barack Obama made initial moves to turn the ship of state around on the issue of government openness and freedom of information, a conference at American University Washington College of Law this Thursday will examine Obama's directives -- and what more is needed.
Obama's Jan. 21 memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act directed agencies to handle requests under the act with a clear presumption that the document should be released. A separate memorandum the same day promises recommendations for an "Open Government Directive" within 120 days on ways to improve openness throughout the federal government.
"It is time for an era of secrecy to give way to a new era of transparency," says Dan Metcalfe, formerly a top Department of Justice official on FOIA and information policy. Now an adjunct professor and director of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy based at AU, Metcalfe organized the free daylong event and recruited speakers from inside and outside of government. For more information, visit this site. (Disclosure: the author of this blog post is on the advisory board of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy.)