Advocacy groups sue US military for sexual assault records

Two advocacy groups are suing the U.S. military for records pertaining to sexual assault and the military justice system. Protect Our Defenders and the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center filed a lawsuit with a Connecticut federal court on Wednesday against the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security “to release records related to gender…

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From GovExec: FOIA Requests Hit Record High, Processing Improves

Document requesters used the Freedom of Information Act in record numbers in fiscal 2016, but agency offices still managed to reduce the long-standing backlog, according to the latest annual report from the Justice Department.

FOIA offices governmentwide received a record high of 788,769 requests, a 10.6 percent increase over the previous year, Justice’s Office of Information Policy reported on Wednesday. Requests have marched steadily upward since 2009, with a slight dip in fiscal 2015.

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Classified Directives Listings Disappear from DOD and JCS Websites

FOIA requesters who relied on lists of classified directives published by both the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to know what documents to file FOIA requests for may now be out of luck. In a transparency backslide, both the DOD and JCS websites no longer publish lists of classified directives and instructions, making it impossible to know what to FOIA.

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GAO: DOD must improve transparency of spec ops funding

While U.S. Special Operations Command has seen a dramatic increase in personnel and funding since the beginning of the war on terror, the Defense Department still is unable to accurately provide detailed funding numbers across the services, leaving decision makers in the dark on exactly how much money goes toward special operations, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

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Work Pledges Transparency in DoD Laboratory Review

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2015 – Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work today promised transparency in the Defense Department’s comprehensive review of its laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols associated with inactivating spore-forming anthrax.

Speaking with Pentagon reporters, Work emphasized that public safety is the department’s top concern, and he provided background on the DoD laboratories and their processes.

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DOD Stonewalls Freedom of Information Act Request From Ailing Vet

A veteran has sought information about Fort McClellan’s chemical contamination from the Department of Defense since last year, but his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has gone unanswered.

Raymond Pulliam – a 53-year-old veteran – was forced to retire in 2012 due to health issues he believes were caused by toxic contamination at Fort McClellan, where he was stationed in 1979 for basic training.

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Virginia State Police refuses to disclose publicly funded weapons and vehicles

The Virginia Department of State Police has refused to disclose the types of patrol rifles and other tactical weapons and vehicles it possesses in a decision criticized by civil liberty groups and open-government advocates. The Rutherford Institute in Albemarle County, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Virginia Coalition of Open Government questioned why state police would not release basic descriptions of their taxpayer-funded firearms stock and equipment.

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Releasing Drone Program Memos Is Fundamental to Government Transparency

On May 13, the Center for Effective Government joined other open government organizations in urging Attorney General Eric Holder not to appeal the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York Times Co. v. Department of Justice. In April, the Second Circuit ruled that the government must disclose the legal analysis justifying the government's drone-based targeted killing program, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the Times.

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