[govinfo] GovInfo News 1-23-2007

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 09:36:58 -0500

- House bill would boost power of DHS privacy chief
- Subcommittee will examine information privacy, security
- Gonzales balks at releasing FISC order authorizing domestic surveillance
- New military commissions manual allows convictions on hearsay, coerced 

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


January 19, 2007
By Jonathan Marino

The Homeland Security Department's top privacy official would receive a broad 
expansion of power if the House version of a bill to implement unfinished 9/11 
commission recommendations is enacted.

Hugo Teufel, chief privacy officer at DHS, said Thursday that the measure (H.R. 
1) would grant his office subpoena power. The bill also would grant the officer 
the authority to report directly to Congress without first asking more senior 
DHS officials, and provide for a maximum five year-term in office.

BY Matthew Weigelt
Published on Jan. 19, 2007

The newly appointed chairman of the House information policy subcommittee, Rep. 
William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), plans to delve into the problems surrounding 
technology and privacy. Clay plans to look at government safeguards of personal 
information and how the government uses the information it already has. Clay 
also wants the subcommittee look into more accessibility and transparency of 
government information, including increased oversight of departments' delays 
and denials of FOIA requests. No hearings are set yet. more

- What's in the Ethics Bill?

All bills and joint resolutions must report a list of earmarks containing the 
sponsor, cost, purpose, and whether the sponsor or an immediate family member 
will benefit from the earmark for each individual earmark. All bills and joints 
resolutions with a list of earmarks must put that list of earmarks online 48 
hours before consideration of the bill or resolution. The term earmark applies 
to a limited appropriation, a limited tax benefit, and a limited tariff 
benefit. Members are also prohibited from requesting an earmark that 
financially benefit themselves or an immediate family member

Both the Clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate must create 
searchable online databases of Member's travel gift reports by the beginning of 
next year. Travel gift reports have never before been available online on a 
government website.
All commmittees and subcommittees must post within 14 days of a meeting a 
video, audio, or printed transcript of that meeting on their public website. 

Senate bill mandates a Web site for tracking congressional travel

BY Matthew Weigelt
Published on Jan. 19, 2007
The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act establishes a public Web 
site with information on all official congressional travel, among many other 
Web-based ethical boundaries. The legislation passed the Senate 96-2. According 
to the bill, the searchable Web site must be categorized by member, travel date 
and other common categories associated with congressional travel. The 
information on the site must also be easily understandable, the legislation 
states. The bill requires the sites to be running by Jan. 1, 2008.

Other provisions of the ethics bill insist on putting more details of Senate 
proceedings, such as committee hearings and the text of legislation before 
senators can vote on it, online.

An amendment from Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), for example, would mandate 
opening Senate meetings to the public via the Internet.

Joshua Pantesco at 2:30 PM ET

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee 
Thursday released a letter from presiding FISC judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly 
agreeing to release any documents relating to FIS that it is not "[his] 
decision" whether or not the Justice Department agrees to release the text of 
the order granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) 
authorizing government surveillance of transmissions coming into or going 
outside of the country where one party was suspected of association with a 
terrorist organization. Gonzales notified the Committee of the order via letter 
on Wednesday. Gonzales was unresponsive when ranking committee member Sen. 
Arlen Specter (R-PA) asked whether the order provides the FISC with blanket 
authority to approve all DOJ wiretap requests. During the oversight hearing, 
the committee C oversight of the domestic surveillance program, pending 
approval from the Justice Department. Also on Thursday, National Intelligence 
Director John Negroponte told the House Intelligence Committee that releasing 
the text of the order could implicate separation of power issues. more [Jurist]


Joshua Pantesco at 3:42 PM ET

The manual describes the procedures to govern upcoming detainee trials under 
the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). Terror detainees may be convicted 
solely on hearsay or coerced evidence and defendants may not present classified 
evidence unless the government approves its use, according to the Manual for 
Military Commissions, released by the US Defense Department Thursday. more 

AFPS report http://www.defenselink.mil/News/NewsArticle.aspx?id=2745


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