Fourth Annual Freedom of Information Day Celebration

March 14, 2011

Speaker Biographies


Michael Binder is a Supervisory Records Declassification Specialist with the Air Force Declassification Office (AFDO), located at the National Archives at College Park. As a FOIA Program Manager, he supervises AFDO reviewers as they practice their 3 Rs -- Reviewing, Referring, Redaction; as Deputy Air Force Restricted Data/Formerly Restricted Data (RD/FRD) Management Officer, he assists Air Force information access offices worldwide with nuclear weapon questions that frequently involve FOIA Exemption 3. Mr. Binder cut his RD/FRD teeth during a 4.5-year stint as a Department of Energy contractor reviewer with DOE's Historical Records Audit Program, also at the National Archives. Prior to his ten years as a government reviewer, he worked as a Cold War military history consultant, participating in historic preservation and environmental remediation projects on current and former military installations across the country. Among his contributions were inputs to the Brookings Institution's Atomic Audit and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Where They Were." In his consultant capacity, he was happy to gain access to classified information, be it in documents he requested under the FOIA, or in improperly declassified records held at various government archives. As an Air Force reviewer, he now is required to protect the very same types of classified information he once was delighted to see mistakenly made available to the public.


Rick Blum coordinates the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media groups promoting open government policies and practices. The coalition actively supported passage of the 2007 amendments to the Freedom of Information Act that created the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), which is the first independent office designed to mediate FOIA disputes and recommend improvements. Rick and the coalition discovered the provision buried in the president's 2009 budget that would have eliminated the ombudsman office before its creation. In the midst of high-profile stories about U.S.-run secret prisons, warrantless surveillance, and federal monitoring of international banking transactions, Rick helped media groups successfully explain why Congress should not write new laws criminalizing reporting based on unauthorized disclosures. Rick was the founding director of, a broad coalition of journalists, labor, and free-speech and environmental advocates. There he launched the Secrecy Report Card, an annual report of quantitative indicators of secrecy and openness in the federal government. As a policy analyst at OMB Watch from 1997 to 2001, he worked with environmental groups, librarians, freedom-of-information advocates, and others in the 1999 fight to maintain public access to chemical accident risk management plans. Rick also has conducted research on the effects of the commercialization of science on environmental and public health protections. He holds a master's degree from Indiana University, where his studies focused on democratization efforts in Russia, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley.


Krista Boyd serves as Counsel for the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Her oversight and legislative responsibilities include issues related to transparency, public access to government information, and the regulatory process. She assisted with drafting and negotiating legislation to improve the transparency of the federal government including bills on access to presidential records, strengthening the Freedom of Information Act, improving the transparency of federal advisory committees, and the Plain Writing Act of 2010, a bill requiring agencies to write documents in plain language that President Obama signed into law on October 13, 2010. Ms. Boyd previously served as Counsel for United States Senator Max Cleland. She is a graduate of Emory University School of Law and Florida State University.


Angela Canterbury, Director of Public Policy at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), is an experienced advocate, policy analyst, and public campaign strategist. Angela manages strategic campaigns and advances public policies to combat corruption and to promote openness and accountability in government. She has been engaged in the current effort to reform and re-regulate the financial industry in order to achieve more effective oversight and protections for taxpayers and consumers. She also has been instrumental in advancing improvements in lobbying and congressional ethics rules, whistleblower protections, the Freedom of Information Act, and other open-government initiatives. She has testified before Congress, including on the issue of Securities and Exchange Commission information disclosure in 2010, and has been quoted or appeared in news outlets. Prior to joining POGO, Angela served as the director of advocacy for Public Citizen's Congress Watch division, and before that she worked with the League of Women Voters of the U.S. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, with honors and distinction.


Karen Finnegan is the Deputy Director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration. The mission of OGIS is to review agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to provide mediation services to resolve FOIA disputes, to recommend policy changes to Congress and the President to improve the administration of FOIA, and to serve as the government-wide FOIA Ombudsman. Prior to serving in this position, Ms. Finnegan served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the FOIA Staff of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA), where she represented the government in FOIA lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Prior to serving in this capacity, she held the position of Chief, FOIA/PA Branch, Office of Freedom of Information, in the Department of Defense, where she supervised the processing of FOIA and Privacy Act requests seeking access to records maintained by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. Ms. Finnegan has also served as an Assistant General Counsel in the FOIA Litigation Unit, the Office of the General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Information and Privacy (OIP) in the Department of Justice, where she also worked as a paralegal before attending law school. She is currently serving as the Treasurer of the American Society of Access Professionals (ASAP), and has served as its President in 2007 and as its Treasurer in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Ms. Finnegan is an instructor in various OGIS, ASAP, and Department of Justice training programs.


Stu Frisch has been involved in FOIA processing since the 1970s. He is the General Counsel of the Department of Justice's Justice Management Division (JMD), where he has worked since 1986. He is responsible for acting on FOIA requests processed by JMD, a large number of which are for business information submitted to the government by third parties. He has taught classes on FOIA Exemptions 4 and 5 at the Justice Department's National Advocacy Center, and he successfully argued a precedent-setting Exemption 4 FOIA case before the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is a graduate of Brooklyn College and Harvard Law School.


Kevin Goldberg is a Special Counsel to Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth, P.L.C. His expertise is in First Amendment issues, especially those relating to newspaper and Internet publishing. He regularly advocates issues involving freedom of speech on behalf of press organizations, including lobbying against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow criminalization of flag desecration, lobbying in favor of increased access to government records and proceedings, and protecting the rights and privileges of reporters. Kevin also consults regularly with these organizations concerning the continued freedom of speech on the Internet, focusing on issues such as regulation and voluntary implementation of blocking software. He assists newspapers and television and radio stations in prepublication review of stories for possible legal problems.

Kevin's interest in the First Amendment stems from an undergraduate major in communications, with concentrations in TV/Radio and Journalism, at James Madison University, from which he graduated magna cum laude in 1992. After graduating from James Madison, he attended law school at George Washington University, where he graduated with high honors in 1995 and was named to the Order of the Coif. Kevin received the 1995 Imogene Williford Constitutional Law Award for his exemplary achievements in that academic area during his three years of law school. He served as the research assistant to Constitutional Law Professor C. Thomas Dienes, assisting him in updating and editing his books on constitutional law and researching issues concerning access to court proceedings and judicial records for the book Newsgathering and the Law.

Kevin is licensed to practice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In addition to his law practice, he is an adjunct professor at George Mason University, where he teaches Journalism Law. He is a member of Board of Directors of the District of Columbia's Public Access Television Corporation and the Advisory Board of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy, as well as the local charity "United for DC," the charitable arm of DC United. He is a member of the Federal Communications Bar Association, the District of Columbia Open Government Coalition, and the Virginia Coalition for Open Government. He has also written several articles on First Amendment and FOI laws, is a regular speaker and panelist on conferences on the subjects in the United States and overseas, and is a frequent media commentator.


Lydia Griggsby is the Chief Counsel for Privacy and Information Policy for the Senate Judiciary Committee, a unique position that calls for her to provide legal and policy advice to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy on a wide range of legal issues at the intersection of privacy, the Freedom of Information Act, freedom of the press, and civil liberties. Ms. Griggsby negotiated the first major reforms to the FOIA in more than a decade -- the OPEN Government Act of 2007 -- which former President Bush signed into law on December 31, 2007. Recently, she served as the lead Senate counsel on the OPEN FOIA Act reform bill, which President Obama signed into law on October 29, 2009. In addition to her work on the FOIA, Ms. Griggsby provides legal advice to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a broad range of other issues, including freedom of the press, information privacy and security, and cybersecurity.

Ms. Griggsby has been a government attorney throughout most of her legal career, serving for six years as an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and for three years with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. Prior to her appointment to the Department of Justice, she was an associate with the law firm of DLA Piper. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Pennsylvania.


Harry Hammitt is editor/publisher of Access Reports, a biweekly newsletter on the Freedom of Information Act and open government laws and policies. He also is the primary editor of Litigation Under the Federal Open Government Laws published by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Harry became editor of Access Reports in 1985 and became publisher in 1989. He has written and lectured extensively on access and privacy issues in both the United States and Canada. He is a past president of the American Society of Access Professionals and has conducted that organization's annual seminar on business information issues for more than ten years. He was inducted into the FOI Hall of Fame at the Freedom Forum in Arlington, Virginia, in 2001. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1975. He holds an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School. Harry has worked as an information specialist for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and for FOI Services, a third-party requesting company that deals primarily with businesses in the food and drug Industry. Since 2009, he also has been working as a contractor/consultant with the Department of State, working on a variety of FOIA and information policy issues.


Hudson Hollister is Counsel for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He joined the committee staff in October 2009. In the 111th Congress, Hudson focused on issues related to financial regulation and government transparency. He produced an investigative report on management challenges at the Securities and Exchange Commission and worked on technology and transparency legislation. Prior to joining the committee, Hudson was an Attorney Fellow at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served on the staff of the 21st Century Disclosure Initiative. Before joining the Commission's staff, Hudson was an attorney with Latham & Watkins, LLP in Chicago, where he represented clients in civil commercial and securities matters. Hudson is licensed to practice law in Illinois and the District of Columbia. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law (J.D. 2005) and the University of St. Francis (B.A., Political Science and Mass Communication, 2002).


Will Kammer has been working in the Freedom of Information Act and declassification fields since 1991. He has served in various management assignments with the Office of Freedom of Information (OFOI), Department of Defense, since October 1998, was selected as Chief of OFOI in August 2005, and was named Chief of the Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office in January 2006. Will has taught courses on the FOIA for the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and other government agencies, and for the American Society of Access Professionals. He was given the annual Outstanding FOIA Officer Award by the Department of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy in March 2006.

Prior to joining OFOI, Will served as a FOIA action officer in the Joint Staff from 1991-1995 and was responsible for developing and implementing the Joint Staff Automatic Declassification plan in 1996. He was the principal declassifying official for the Joint Staff Automatic Declassification program from 1996-1998. Will began his career with the Department of Defense in 1984, serving as an Ammunition Surveillance Specialist with the Department of the Army and as an Investigator with the Defense Investigative Service prior to joining the Joint Staff in 1991.


John Koppel is an attorney on the Appellate Staff of the Department of Justice's Civil Division. He joined the Department through the Honors Program in October 1981 and has spent his entire career in "Civil Appellate," arguing well in excess of 100 cases and appearing on multiple occasions in every federal circuit. He has worked extensively with Appellate Staff FOIA expert Leonard Schaitman and has litigated roughly a score of FOIA cases concerning various exemptions, especially the Act's personal privacy exemptions. In recent years, Mr. Koppel has also been heavily involved in intellectual property litigation, and in December 2010 he received a special commendation from Civil Division Assistant Attorney General Tony West for outstanding service in connection with Golan v. Holder, in which the Tenth Circuit reversed a district court ruling holding unconstitutional Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, on First Amendment grounds. Mr. Koppel received his B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College in 1978 and his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1981.


Ginger McCall is Assistant Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center's Open Government Project. She works on a variety of issues at EPIC, including consumer protection, open government requests, amicus curiae briefs, and national security matters. She litigates EPIC's Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and is a co-editor of Litigation Under the Federal Government Laws 2010. Ms. McCall has co-authored several amicus curiae briefs on privacy issues filed in the Supreme Court of the United States. She has been invited to speak on privacy and open government issues in a variety of academic and conference venues, including the 2009 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference, the Internet Governance Forum USA 2009 Conference, and the New England Consortium of State Labor Relations Agencies' 11th Annual Conference. She also has provided expert commentary for local, national, and international media, including NPR, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. Ms. McCall is a graduate of Cornell Law School and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in English Literature. While in law school, she interned at the American Civil Liberties Union in Pittsburgh and at EPIC. She was the president of the Cornell Law School National Lawyers Guild and was awarded Cornell's Freeman Prize for Civil and Human Rights.


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 was appointed by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick to be a member of the World Bank's Access to Information Appeals Board, an independent tribunal that makes final decisions on appeals taken under the Bank's newly adopted worldwide information disclosure policy; he serves with board members from India and France, and together they hold final 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 by further 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, as a 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.


Alan Morrison is the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service Law, and also holds the title of Professorial Lecturer in Law, at George Washington University Law School. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale College in 1959 and his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1966. In between his studies, he served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. His early legal career includes working as an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. In 1972, Mr. Morrison teamed up with Ralph Nader to found and direct the Public Citizen Litigation Group, the litigating arm of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, which became the premier public interest organization advocating for greater government openness. For several decades, he mentored and led a generation of public interest lawyers who aggressively used FOIA litigation as means of obtaining vital information from the government for public interest purposes.

Over the span of his career, Mr. Morrison has argued twenty cases before the United States Supreme Court. One of his more well-known cases is Immigration & Naturalization Service v. Chadha (1983), where he fought for a client with no real nationality to not face deportation from the United States. The attorney general had suspended proceedings, but the House of Representatives created a resolution that ordered the man deported. Mr. Morrison persuaded the High Court that the legislative veto was unconstitutional -- a holding that affected separation of powers and constitutional law and was just as ground-breaking in administrative and public interest law. In 2004, he retired from Public Citizen to work at Stanford Law School as a senior lecturer on administrative and public interest law. He has taught at several law schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, New York University, Tulane University, China's Fudan University, and the Washington College of Law.


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).


Harvey Pitt is the Chief Executive Officer of the global business consulting firm Kalorama Partners, LLC, and its law firm affiliate, Kalorama Legal Services, PLLC. Prior to founding the two Kalorama firms, Mr. Pitt served as the twenty-sixth Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. In that role, from 2001 until 2003, Mr. Pitt was responsible, among other things, for overseeing the SEC's response to the market disruptions resulting from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, for creating the SEC's "real time enforcement" program, and for leading the Commission's adoption of dozens of rules in response to the corporate and accounting crises generated by the excesses of the 1990s. For nearly a quarter of a century before becoming the SEC's Chairman, Mr. Pitt was a senior corporate partner in the international law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He was a founding trustee and the first President of the SEC Historical Society, and participates in a wide variety of bar and continuing legal education activities to further public consideration of significant corporate and securities law issues. Mr. Pitt served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center (1975-84), George Washington University Law School (1974-82), the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (1983-84), and Yale Law School (2007). Former Chairman Pitt served previously with the SEC, from 1968 until 1978, including three years as the Commission's General Counsel (1975-78). He received a J.D. degree from St. John's University School of Law (1968) and his B.A. from the City University of New York (Brooklyn College) (1965). He was awarded an honorary LL.D. by St. John's University in June 2002, and was given the Brooklyn College President's Medal of Distinction in 2003. Mr. Pitt is currently a Director of GWU Medical Faculty Associates, Inc., a section 501(c)(3) corporation that provides comprehensive medical care to residents of the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and serves on its Audit Committee. He is a member of the Global Advisory Forum of the CQS Hedge Fund, and a member of the Regulatory and Compliance Advisory Council of Millennium Management LLC. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Paulson & Co., Inc. He previously served for three years on the National Cathedral School's Board of Trustees, where he was at various times Board Vice-Chair, Co-Chair of the Board's Governance Committee, and Chair of the Audit and Compensation Committees. Mr. Pitt previously served as a Director of Approva Corporation and was a member of its Audit Committee.


John Podesta is the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, which under his leadership has become a notable leader in the development of and advocacy for progressive policy. Prior to founding the Center in 2003, Mr. Podesta served as White House Chief of Staff to President William J. Clinton. He served in the president's cabinet and as a principal on the National Security Council. While in the White House, he also served as both an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff, as well as staff secretary and a senior policy advisor on government information, privacy, telecommunications security, and regulatory policy. Most recently, Mr. Podesta served as co-chair of President Obama's transition team, where he coordinated the priorities of the incoming Administration's agenda, oversaw the development of its policies, and spearheaded its appointments of major cabinet secretaries and political appointees.

Additionally, Mr. Podesta has held numerous positions on Capitol Hill, including counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas A. Daschle (1995-1996); chief counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987-1988); and chief minority counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks, on Security and Terrorism, and on Regulatory Reform. A Chicago native, he is a graduate of Knox College and Georgetown University Law Center, where he currently is a visiting professor of law. He also authored The Power of Progress: How America's Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country.


Tom Susman is Director of Government Affairs at the American Bar Association, where he holds responsibility for a wide range of ABA activities here in Washington, D.C. Before accepting that position upon his "retirement" in 2008, he was a long-time senior partner in the Washington Office of Ropes & Gray, where his work included counseling, litigation, and lobbying on access to government information and privacy, in addition to his general legislative and regulatory practice. Tom has testified frequently on FOIA reform before Congress and authored a number of works on information and privacy. He advised Shanghai on open government information, wrote a chapter on Access to Documents in the European Union for an ABA publication, co-authored a BNA portfolio on business information, and taught classes and courses on the FOIA to government lawyers, government access professionals, and law students. He has also been involved in a number of freedom of information cases at the state and federal levels and before foreign tribunals. A former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Judicial College and President of the District of Columbia Public Library Foundation, he currently serves in the House of Delegates of the ABA.

Before joining Ropes & Gray, Tom served on Capitol Hill as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee; prior to that he worked in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He graduated from Yale University, received his J.D. from the University of Texas Law School, and is a member of the American Law Institute. Among his many honors and distinctions, perhaps foremost among them is his receipt of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy's inaugural "Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award" at CGS's First Annual Freedom of Information Day Celebration in March 2008.


Corinna Zarek is the staff attorney for the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), which assists Freedom of Information Act requesters and agencies with resolving disputes, reviews agencies' FOIA compliance, and serves as a general FOIA ombudsman. Previously, she was the Freedom of Information Director at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she assisted journalists with open records and open meetings issues at the federal and state levels and wrote about those issues for the organization's publications. Corinna also practiced with a law firm in Washington, D.C., specializing in administrative law and previously wrote for The Des Moines Register. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Iowa. Corinna sits on the board of directors for the D.C. Open Government Coalition and Iowa Watch, an Iowa-based investigative reporting organization. She also teaches a media law class at the American University School of Communication and the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

WCL Home | CGS Home