Collaboration on Government Secrecy Hosts “Transparency in the Obama Administration: A Third-Year Assessment”

Leading Experts and Obama Administration Representatives to Attend


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 18, 2012 - American University Washington College of Law’s Collaboration on Government Secrecy will hold “Transparency in the Obama Administration: A Third- Year Assessment,” Jan. 20, 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Since Jan. 20, 2009, the Obama Administration has attempted to keep his presidential campaign commitment to create "the most transparent administration in history," beginning with his sweeping “Day One” transparency and FOIA policy memoranda. However, after creating high expectations for the full and prompt implementation of his new transparency policies, the Obama Administration and its Department of Justice have struggled to do so. This has been the cause of continuing concern and even alarm in the openness-in-government community.

This program, a follow-up to CGS’s January 2009 “Information Policy in the New Administration” conference, will gather leading experts on transparency issues together with representatives of the Obama Administration to focus on exactly what has been done, what has not been done, and what most urgently still needs to be done to make meaningful government transparency a reality.

American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
Room 603
Jan. 20, 2012
9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
(Reception at 5:00 p.m.)


8:45 a.m. - Registration

9:30 a.m. - Welcome and Introduction

  • Daniel J. Metcalfe, executive director, Collaboration on Government Secrecy, American University Washington College of Law

9:40 a.m. - Keynote Speech: “From Aspiration to Hard Reality”

  • Franklin S. Reeder, senior Obama/Biden transition team member and former director, White House Office of Administration

10:30 a.m. - Panel 1: “The Open Government Status Report”

A critical review of the Obama Administration’s September 2011 report of its open government policy successes and difficulties.

  • Amy Bennett, assistant director,
  • Josh Gerstein, White House reporter, POLITICO
  • Nate Jones, FOIA coordinator, National Security Archive
  • John Wonderlich, policy director, Sunlight Foundation
  • Patrice McDermott, executive director, (moderator)

11:45 a.m. - Panel 2: “Do the Bucks Stop Here?”

An assessment of the extent to which increased funding constraints now threaten to curtail open government initiatives across the executive branch.

  • Gary D. Bass, executive director, Bauman Family Foundation
  • Lucy A. Dalglish, executive director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Elizabeth Goitein, director, Liberty and National Security Project, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law
  • Daniel Schuman, director, Advisory Committee on Transparency, and Policy Counsel, Sunlight Foundation
  • Sean Moulton, director, Federal Information Policy, OMB Watch (moderator)

1:00 p.m. - Luncheon Presentation

  • Christopher Vein, deputy U.S. chief technology officer, Executive Office of the President
  • Lisa Ellman, senior counsel, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget

2:15 p.m. - Panel 3: “CUI or See You Later, Part II”

An inside view of the progress and the prospects for success in harmonizing safeguarding labels under the rubric “Controlled Unclassified Information.”

  • Gavin Baker, Federal Information policy analyst, OMB Watch
  • John P. Fitzpatrick, director, Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), National Archives and Records Administration
  • Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Patrick D. Viscuso, associate ISOO director, Controlled Unclassified Information Office, NARA
  • Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel, The Constitution Project (moderator)

3:45 p.m. - Panel 4: White House “Visitor Logs”

An examination of the Obama Administration’s policy for disclosing and also withholding records of White House visitors, as rejected in Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, No. 09-2312 (BAH) (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2011) (appeal pending).

  • Kristen E. Callahan, senior research assistant, Collaboration on Government Secrecy, American University Washington College of Law
  • Thomas J. Fitton, president, Judicial Watch
  • Michael Isikoff, national investigative correspondent, NBC News
  • Anne L. Weismann, chief counsel, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), and president, American Society of Access Professionals

5:00 p.m. - Reception

Read more information or register for the event.

Media interested in attending the event should contact Megan Smith, 202-274-4276.


About American University Washington College of Law

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, DC and around the world. For more information, visit