Collaboration on Government Secrecy
American University Washington College of Law

January 20, 2011

Speaker Biographies


Steven Aftergood directs the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy, which works to reduce the scope of government secrecy and to promote reform of official secrecy practices. He is the author of Secrecy News, an e-mail newsletter (and blog) that reports on new developments in secrecy policy. In 1997, Mr. Aftergood was the plaintiff in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency that led to the declassification and publication of the total intelligence budget ($26.6 billion in 1997) for the first time in fifty years. In 2006, he won a FOIA lawsuit against the National Reconnaissance Office for release of unclassified budget records.


Gary Bass is the Founder and Executive Director of OMB Watch. Since founding this advocacy organization in 1983, he has testified before Congress, appeared on national television, addressed groups across the country, and written extensively on federal budgetary, program management, regulatory, and information policy issues. Dr. Bass is well known for assisting nonprofit organizations in better understanding federal rules and policies affecting their organizations and constituencies. He has been selected as one of the NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50 11 times between 1999 and 2010; in 2007, he was selected as one of the Federal 100 -- the top executives from government, industry, and academia who had the greatest impact on the government information systems community -- and in 2008, he received the Public Access to Government Information Award from the American Association of Law Libraries.

In addition to his nearly 30-year leadership in promoting policies that make government information more publicly accessible, he was a prominent voice after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in preserving the public's right to know. As a result of increased secrecy since 2001, Dr. Bass helped form the coalition, which brings together the advocacy and journalism communities to defend against the growth of secrecy and to advance open government policies and priorities. In 2006, he was inducted into the National FOIA Hall of Fame.

Technology has played an important part in Dr. Bass's career. In 1989, prior to broad use of the Internet, he created RTK NET (the Right-to-Know Network at, a free online computer service to provide community groups access to government data about toxic chemicals released by chemical companies. In 2006, Dr. Bass oversaw creation of, a free online database for citizens to find out where federal money goes and who gets it. software was the basis for the

Dr. Bass is an affiliated professor at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute and also teaches in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program at Georgetown's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership. He chairs and Citizens for Sensible Safeguards, and has served on many boards, panels and advisory bodies, including as a member of the Advisory Board of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy. Dr. Bass received a combined doctorate in psychology and education in 1979 from the University of Michigan, along with the University's highest award for graduate student teaching and several awards for academic excellence.


William J. Bosanko ("Jay") has served as the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) since January of 2008. As such, he is responsible for policy oversight of the Government-wide security classification system established by Executive Order 13,526, “Classified National Security Information,” and of the National Industrial Security Program established by Executive Order 12,829, as amended. ISOO receives its policy and program guidance from the National Security Staff and is a component of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

In this capacity, Mr. Bosanko serves as the Executive Secretary of the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel and the Public Interest Declassification Board, and as the Chairman of the National Industrial Security Program Policy Advisory Committee. He also serves as the Chairman of the State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Policy Advisory Committee established by Executive Order 13,549, “Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities.” In May of 2008, Mr. Bosanko was also appointed as the Director of the Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Office. In this capacity, he carries out the responsibilities of NARA as the Executive Agent for CUI under Executive Order 13,556. Mr. Bosanko also served on the President's CUI Task Force in 2009.

Mr. Bosanko has more than eighteen years of experience working on issues related to the classification, safeguarding, and declassification of classified national security information, most of which have been in positions of increasing responsibility at ISOO. Prior to joining ISOO, he worked on NARA's Special Access and FOIA Staff and NARA's Records Declassification Division. Mr. Bosanko holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania) and is a graduate of the Trinity-Pawling School (Pawling, New York).


Danielle Brian is the Executive Director of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). Ms. Brian has led numerous investigations that have exposed wasteful government spending and helped precipitate policy reforms improving government programs. Under her watch, POGO prevailed in a lawsuit against then-Attorney General John Ashcroft for retroactively classifying FBI documents; forced the government to apply environmental standards to the super-secret Area 51 facility; forced the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to back down on its excessive secrecy regarding lax security at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant outside New York City; and has advocated for the rights of whistleblowers and other dissenters to have their voices heard. Ms. Brian has exposed the oil industry's multi-billion dollar underpayments for drilling on public lands; helped to cancel a number of unneeded and overpriced weapons systems including most recently the F-22 fighter jet; and not only exposed misconduct by federal contractors from Katrina cleanup to Kabul embassy private security contractors, but also forced the government to track and take into account the record of misconduct of all its contractors. In 2006, Ms. Brian was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame; and in 2008, Ethisphere magazine ranked her among the top 100 most influential people in business ethics, and in 2010 she was awarded the Smith College Medal. She also serves on the Boards of Directors for Taxpayers for Common Sense, HALT: Americans for Legal Reform, and the Loudoun Ballet Company. Ms. Brian received a Bachelor's Degree in Government from Smith College in 1985; and a Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1990.


Steven Croley serves as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House's Domestic Policy Council and has become the Obama Administration's new “transparency czar.” A professor on leave from the University of Michigan Law School, he has taught and written in the areas of administrative law, civil procedure, regulation, torts, and related subjects. Professor Croley received an A.B. from the University of Michigan, where he was a James B. Angell Scholar and won the William Jennings Bryan Prize. He earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was articles editor for the Yale Law Journal, a John M. Olin student fellow, and recipient of the John M. Olin Prize and the Benjamin Scharps Prize. He also earned a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University. Following graduation from law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Professor Croley began his teaching career at Michigan Law School in 1993 and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2003 through 2006. From 2006-2010, he served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. His scholarly research appears in, among other places, the Administrative Law Journal, the Chicago Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, and the Harvard Law Review. His recent book, Regulation and Public Interests: The Possibility of Good Regulatory Government, is published by Princeton University Press. He is a member of the Pennsylvania and Michigan Bars, and is an active member of the Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association.


Michael Fitzpatrick is the Associate Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), where he helps to lead the Obama Administration's development of regulatory policy and White House review of significant Executive Branch regulatory actions. He serves as the Executive Branch liaison to the ABA's Administrative Law Section and has led several U.S. delegations in meetings with the European Union, both in Europe and the U.S. During the Presidential Transition, Mr. Fitzpatrick served as deputy lead of the Executive Office of the President and Government Operations Agency Review Teams. From 2001 to 2009, he was in the Washington, D.C. office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he was a partner in the Litigation Practice Group, specializing in white collar, complex civil, and regulatory matters. Before joining Akin Gump, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. and as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator of OIRA during the Clinton Administration. Mr. Fitzpatrick clerked for Circuit Judge William Norris on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after graduating from Stanford Law School. He received his M.A. in American History from the University of Virginia and his B.A. from Brown University.


Sharon Bradford Franklin serves as Senior Counsel at The Constitution Project, an independent think tank that promotes and defends constitutional safeguards. She works principally with the Project's bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee, seeking to protect Americans' civil liberties as well as our nation's security post-September 11th. Previously, she served as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice; as a Special Counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission; and as Executive Director of the Washington Council of Lawyers. She graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School.


Mike German holds the position of National Security Policy Counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. Prior to that, he served for 16 years as a Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations and twice infiltrated right-wing extremist groups, resulting in important criminal convictions in anti-terrorism cases. He left the FBI in 2004, subsequently testifying before Congress that he had been retaliated against for reporting the intentional falsification of records in a counterterrorism investigation. He also has served as a senior fellow at and as an adjunct professor at the National Defense University. A philosophy graduate of Wake Forest University, he has a law degree from Northwestern University Law School.


Josh Gerstein covers the White House, legal and national security issues for POLITICO. He joined the Web-oriented political news outlet just before President Barack Obama's inauguration and has reported extensively on how Obama's pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for war-on-terror captives went awry. Mr. Gerstein's articles have also explored how expectations that the Obama Administration would dramatically reform the legal architecture of the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism strategy have proven to be mistaken. Previously, he was the national reporter for the New York Sun and, earlier, an on-air correspondent for ABC News, where he did tours at the White House and in Beijing. He's maintained a keen, lifelong interest in open government, with particular focus recently on secrecy in the legal system and leaks of classified information. He has pursued dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests, as well as three FOIA lawsuits, pro se. He received his bachelor's degree in government from Harvard and is author of a Massachusetts law requiring college and university police departments to keep a public log of arrests and reported crimes.


Carol Leonnig is a National Staff Writer for The Washington Post. Her first reporting job was in 1989 at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where she worked in its South Jersey bureau. After that, she became a staff writer for The Charlotte Observer. Having covered the Bush Administration extensively from the Post's federal courts beat, she now writes for its National Desk as part of a team examining federal agencies and government accountability. She has done numerous television interviews, including The News House With Jim Lehrer and MSNBC, and her coverage of the Bush administration has been cited in many books on the subject. In 2005, she was part of a seven-person team that won the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting given by the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of California for a series of articles that uncovered unhealthy levels of lead in drinking water in Washington, D.C. and problems with reporting water quality across the U.S. She is also a former Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow.


Patrice McDermott is Director of, a coalition of more than seventy consumer and good government groups, environmentalists, journalists, library groups, labor, and others united to make the federal government a more open place in order to make the public safer, strengthen public trust in government, and support our democratic principles. The coalition and its staff have played an instrumental role in every positive change of the past several years for government openness. promotes and amplifies the change by serving as informal advisors to the White House and to several agencies on issues of concern to our community and the public (such as the Open Government Directive and the high-value data sets on, the Executive Order on Classified National Security Information, the initiatives of the White House related to sensitive but unclassified information, implementation of the 2007 FOIA amendments and issues of electronic records management).

Dr. McDermott joined as Director in July 2006, after more than 4 years as the Deputy Director of the Office of Government Relations at the American Library Association Washington Office. At ALA, she was the lead lobbyist on the USA PATRIOT Act, federal privacy issues, and issues of access to government information, particularly in the post-September 11th environment. She joined ALA in December 2001, after having served for 8 years as the senior information policy analyst for OMB Watch. While at OMB Watch during the 1990s, her work included co-authoring two studies of the implementation of the E-FOIA Amendments of 1996, and coordination of the non-profit openness community's efforts in stopping the enactment of what would have been the equivalent of an official secrets act in the U.S. Previously, she worked for the National Archives and Records Administration.

Dr. McDermott was inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 2001. She is a frequent speaker on public access and e-government issues, has testified at congressional hearings on these issues and others, and is the author of “Who Needs to Know? The State of Public Access to Federal Government Information” (Bernan 2007). Patrice was awarded her doctorate from the University of Arizona in political science, a M.A. in political science from Brown University, and received an M.Ln. in library and information management from Emory University.


Dan Metcalfe joined the faculty of the Washington College of Law in 2007 as a Faculty Fellow in Law and Government upon retiring from a career in government service that began at the Department of Justice in 1971. He now is both an adjunct professor at WCL and Executive Director of the school's Collaboration on Government Secrecy. A 1976 graduate of the National Law Center at George Washington University, where he was a law review editor and attended on a full academic scholarship, he worked at the Justice Department as both a teenage intern during college and a law clerk in the Office of the Attorney General during law school. In 1981, after a judicial clerkship and serving as a Justice Department trial attorney, he was appointed to the position of founding director of the Department's Office of Information and Privacy (OIP). For more than a quarter-century in that position, he guided all federal agencies on the governmentwide administration of the Freedom of Information Act, directly supervised the defense of more than 500 FOIA and Privacy Act lawsuits in district and appellate courts, testified before Congress on FOIA legislation, and met with representatives of nearly 100 nations and international governing bodies as they considered the development and implementation of their own government transparency laws. He became a career member of the Senior Executive Service in 1984, the youngest Justice Department attorney then and since to hold such a position. He currently is writing a textbook on secrecy law together with WCL Professor Stephen I. Vladeck for publication by Carolina Academic Press and is the author of several publications, most recently The Nature of Government Secrecy, 26 Gov't Info. Quarterly 305 (2009), and Sunshine Not So Bright: FOIA Implementation Lags Behind, 34 Admin. & Reg. L. News 5 (Summer 2009). In 2010, he wasappointed byWorld Bank President Robert B. Zoellick to be a member of theWorld Bank'sAccess to Information Appeals Board, an independent tribunal that makes final decisions on appeals taken under theBank's newly adopted worldwide information disclosure policy; heserves withboard members from India and France, andtogether they holdfinal authority to order the public disclosure of World Bank records.In 2009, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Inaugural Sino-American Dialogue on Rule of Law and Human Rights in China, followed up byfurther dialogues in Xiemen and Beijing in 2010, and he has given dozens of presentations on international transparency around the world. He also holds positions as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College London, asa consultant to the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), and as a contributing editor of the Administrative Law & Regulatory News publication of the American Bar Association's Section of Administrative Law.


Sean Moulton is Director of Information Policy at OMB Watch, where he focuses on increasing government transparency with special attention to environmental information and right-to-know issues. One of his first jobs was as Environmental Researcher and Data Manager for the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP), manipulating and analyzing environmental information that is disseminated under the policies he now advocates. Prior to joining OMB Watch, Sean honed his lobbying and policy analysis skills as the Tax Policy Analyst at Friends of the Earth. His work experience also includes several years as a research fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Industry Sector Policy Division. Recent priority work at OMB Watch for Sean has included coordinating nationwide opposition to EPA's cutbacks to the Toxic Release Inventory and overseeing the development of, a groundbreaking new Web site that allows users to easily search and browse trillions of dollars in federal spending. For years, OMB Watch has also operated the Right to Know Network (RTK NET), a Web site that provides public access to almost a dozen environmental databases. Sean will be helping to bring lessons learned from to a redesign of the environmental database functions on RTK NET. He received a Masters of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland and has a B.A. in Economics and English


Miriam Nisbet recently returned from Paris to accept a career Senior Executive Service appointment as Founding Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the FOIA ombudsman and policy office created by the 2007 FOIA Amendments. During the two previous years, she was Director of the Information Society Division of UNESCO in Paris, and she also served on the Obama Transition Team. Prior to that, she was Legislative Counsel at the American Library Association from 1999 to 2007, where she was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Hague Conference on Private International Law representing libraries, and she worked at NARA from 1993 to 1999, where she first occupied the post of Special Assistant to the Archivist of the United States and then Special Counsel for Information Policy. She was a staff attorney at the National Association of Attorneys General during 1977-1978, before joining the Department of Justice, where she worked from 1978 to 1993. At the Justice Department, she served for nearly a dozen years as the Deputy Director of the Office of Information and Privacy (OIP), in connection with which she also held a senior leadership position as part of the national continuity-of-government team for several years. She is a member of the American Bar Association and of the American Law Institute, and she also is a long-time member of the American Society of Access Professionals, serving as its President and as a Member of its Board of Directors. Representing libraries, she was President of the Americans For Fair Electronic Commerce Transactions (AFFECT).


Adina Rosenbaum is Director of the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse at the Public Citizen Litigation Group, in Washington, D.C., where she has practiced since September 2004. Ms. Rosenbaum received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1998 and earning membership in Phi Beta Kappa. In 2003, she graduated from the New York University School of Law, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and an editor of the New York University Law Review. Following law school, Ms. Rosenbaum clerked for the Honorable Martha Craig Daughtrey of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Her practice areas at the litigation group include general appellate litigation, open government, consumer safety, and first amendment issues. Many of her cases involve access to records under the Freedom of Information Act. Ms. Rosenbaum is admitted to the District of Columbia and New York bars, is an inactive member of the Massachusetts bar, and is admitted to practice before numerous federal courts.


David Sobel is Senior Counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Washington, D.C. office, where he directs its FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project. He has handled numerous cases seeking the disclosure of government documents on privacy policy, including electronic surveillance, encryption controls, and airline passenger screening initiatives. He served as co-counsel in the challenge to government secrecy concerning post-September 11 detentions and participated in the submission of a civil liberties amicus brief in the first-ever proceeding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. David is co-editor of the 2002 and 2004 editions of Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws. He is a recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award (2003) and the American Library Association's James Madison Award (2004). David formerly was counsel to the non-profit National Security Archive, and in 1994 he co-founded the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), where he directed FOIA litigation and focused on government surveillance and the collection of personal information. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Florida College of Law.


Andrea Stephenson is a Senior Research Assistant for the Collaboration on Government Secrecy. A third-year student at the Washington College of Law, she now is in her third academic semester of being a vital part of CGS. Andrea holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Georgia Southern University, where she graduated with honors from the University Honors Program. She also is the Publications Editor of the American University International Law Review. Prior to law school, Andrea worked for five years in the general corporate and transactional law department of a mid-sized law firm, and she plans to put her skills to use in a career in either corporate law or government upon graduation in May 2011.


Pat Viscuso is the Associate Director of the Controlled Unclassified Information Office at the National Archives and Records Administration. He has twenty years of experience working at all levels of government security, oversight, and policy organizations with an expertise in the major security disciplines related to the protection of national security information. Dr. Viscuso joined the Information Security Oversight Office in October 2005 as a senior program analyst with responsibilities in the Department of Defense sector and has undertaken special projects dealing with Sensitive But Unclassified information, classified information sharing, information systems, and industrial security. Additionally, he co-chaired working groups whose memberships consisted of federal and non-federal participants. His work included lead responsibility for meetings of the National Industrial Security Program Policy Advisory Committee. Dr. Viscuso has a bachelor's degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (Georgetown University), a master's degree from Holy Cross (Brookline, MA), and a doctoral degree from The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.).


Anne Weismann currently serves as chief counsel for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government. CREW uses the law as a tool to force officials to act ethically and lawfully and to bring unethical conduct to the public's attention. As chief counsel, Ms. Weismann has been responsible for many precedent-setting cases on behalf of CREW, focusing particularly on transparency in government. Prior to joining CREW, Ms. Weismann served as deputy chief of the Enforcement Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, where she had responsibility for all of the Bureau's telecommunications matters. Before that, she worked in the of the Department of Justice, where for many years she served as an assistant branch director with supervisory responsibility over banking litigation, housing litigation, and from 1995 through 2002 all government information litigation. Prior to that she worked in the Solicitor's Office of the Department of Labor.


John Wonderlich is the Policy Director for the Sunlight Foundation and one of the nation's foremost advocates for open government. He spearheads the Sunlight Foundation's goal of changing the government by opening up key data sources and information, to make government more accountable to citizens. He is one of the foremost authorities on transparency policy, from legislation and accountability in Congress to ethics and information policy in the executive branch.