[govinfo] sign-on opportunity -- public review of any classification E.O.

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opengovsteer@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'Bill Leonard'" <bill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 14:49:38 -0400

Attached and below is a sign-on letter asking for an opportunity for the public 
to comment on a final draft of a revised Executive Order on national security 
classification ? prior to it being provided to the President for his 
consideration.  You may know there was an online process for soliciting ideas; 
this is asking for an opportunity for review of the final product before it 
goes into effect.
Bill Leonard is collecting the sign-ons ? which are welcomed from organizations 
and individuals. If you are signing on as an individual, please provide your 
city and state of residence. You may also give an organiz?l affiliation ?for 
reference only,? if you wish. Please indicate that to Bill.
The deadline in 5pm EDT on Thursday, 30 July.
Patrice McDermott, Director 
202.332.OPEN (6736) 
From Bill Leonard (former director of the Information Security Oversight Office 
? ISOO):
For those who were at the public PIDB meeting the other week, you'll recall 
that I made a recommendation that the public be provided an opportunity to 
comment on a final draft of a revised E.O. prior to it being provided to the 
President for his consideration.  To me, that is the only real opportunity to 
impact the process -- otherwise, even well-intentioned officials can 
misinterpret public comments at best or totally disregard them at worst.  As we 
know, even the positioning of a comma can have critical importance as to the 
meaning of a policy provision.
I do not know if the PIDB will forward this recommendation on to the National 
Security Advisor.  I do know that it was not included in the summary of 
recommendations made at the public meeting as summarized on the OSTP blog.
General James L. Jones
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear General Jones:
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, wish to commend President 
Obama for his commitment to facilitating public input into critical national 
issues.  We appreciate your request to the Public Interest Declassification 
Board (PIDB) that they provide a forum for public input on the review ordered 
by the President of Executive Order 12958, as amended, ?Classified National 
Security Information.?  By hosting an on-line blog and by holding a public 
hearing, the PIDB has provided extraordinary opportunities for the public to 
submit recommendations for revisions to the Order as the review moves forward.
In order to provide a truly open and transparent process for revising a 
critical national policy that touches the lives of every American, we request 
that, prior to presenting the President a final set of recommendations for his 
consideration, the public be provided an opportunity, through publication in 
the Federal Register or a similar venue, to provide comment on the actual 
language of any proposed revisions to the Executive Order.  Soliciting input on 
the front-end of the review process is commendable.  However, the opportunity 
to comment on how that input is translated into policy is the measure of true 
transparency, participation and collaboration promised by the President on 
January 21, 2009.   Furthermore, an opportunity for public comment will help 
improve the final product; in 1993 public disclosure of a near-final draft of 
the executive order on classified national security information elicited 
substantial public commentary and contributed to significant revisions of 
Executive Order 12958 prior to its formal promulgation by President Clinton.
We believe this recommended approach best serves the President and, most 
importantly, the nation.  It is also consistent with the President?s commitment 
to make his administration the most open and transparent in history. 

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