Seventh Annual Freedom of Information Day Celebration to Be Held at American University Washington College of Law

Former NBC News Legal Reporter Carl Stern to Be Presented with 2014 FOIA Legend Award


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 7, 2014- Media and public interest groups will gather at American University Washington College of Law on March 18 to celebrate Freedom of Information Day with a series of unique sessions on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), surveillance secrecy, and other transparency issues.

The event will be held March 18, 2014, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the law school's room 603.

In the United States, "Freedom of Information Day" is celebrated annually on James Madison’s birthday, during what is known as “Sunshine Week.” This program is the seventh annual celebration of Freedom of Information Day held by American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy(CGS).

“This is CGS’s 24th program over the past six years, and it is especially gratifying that American University Washington College of Law has become the principal place for celebrating Freedom of Information Day each year,” said Daniel J. Metcalfe, CGS’s founder and executive director. “This year, with five program panels and two major keynote addresses, we will have more vital content than ever before.”

Carl Stern, former legal reporter for NBC and director of public affairs for the Department of Justice, will give the opening keynote address. He will also be presented with the 2014 “Robert Vaughn FOIA Legend Award,” in recognition of his long and distinguished FOIA-related career, including as a highly-successful FOIA requester. Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law, will make this year’s presentation.

An additional keynote presentation will be made as a luncheon speech by Office of the Director of National Intelligence General Counsel Robert S. Litt, a former high-level U.S. Justice Department official who is expected to speak broadly about the privacy and transparency implications of current controversies surrounding government surveillance and counterintelligence activities.

Kenneth L. Wainstein, former homeland security advisor to the President, assistant attorney general for national security, and U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, will participate in a panel addressing ongoing national security issues. Sharon Bradford Franklin, executive director of the President’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, will address the Board’s recent criticisms of the National Security Agency on a panel entitled “Surveillance Secrecy.”

Following the morning keynote, five panels of leading experts from academia, from public interest organizations, and from inside government will discuss major issues of current importance to the openness-in-government community, particularly:

  • A comprehensive view of FOIA-related activity in the 113th U.S. Congress from all four corners of Capitol Hill.
  • An examination of the secrecy blanket that surrounds the highly controversial aspects of government surveillance activity.
  • New developments in national security classification.
  • An expert assessment of the need for a long-overdue overhaul of the Privacy Act, which is soon to be a 40-year-old piece of Watergate reform legislation.
  • A review of recent government positions under the FOIA’s Exemption 5.

View the full agenda and list of speakers.

Media inquiries can be directed to Megan Smith, assistant director of public relations, 202-276-4276.


In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, D.C. and around the world. For more information, visit