Thursday, May 28, 2009

JUST IN: Obama Orders Reviews of Government Secrecy/FBI & ACLU Discuss Concerns EVENT

May 28, 2009 – 12:33 p.m. ET
Obama Orders Reviews of Government Secrecy

President Obama has ordered two reviews of government secrecy, one examining whether too much information is classified and another examining whether the system for protecting other sensitive information needs to be streamlined.

The reviews would include recommendations on building a National Declassification Center, a proposal Obama made on the campaign trail. Obama’s memo, released Wednesday, said the reviews are a reflection of an administration that “is committed to operating with an unprecedented level of openness.”

He set a deadline of 90 days to complete the recommendations. National security adviser James L. Jones would lead the review of classified information, which would consider ideas such as establishing a center to conduct classification reviews and restoring the “presumption against classification” that was suspended by President George W. Bush .

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will lead the review of streamlining “controlled unclassified information,” a category that has proliferated in recent years and complicated efforts to share terrorism information between the federal government and state and local law enforcement. There are 107 such designations for information that is sensitive but not worthy of being fully classified.

Bush instituted a review last year of controlled unclassified information, but a new framework is not slated for completion until 2013.

Obama’s record on government openness thus far has drawn mixed reviews. Transparency advocates applauded him for adopting a presumption in favor of Freedom of Information Act requests, and most liberals commended Obama for releasing legal memos on Bush administration interrogation methods that the previous administration guarded closely.

Some of those same groups, however, have complained that Obama has relied heavily on the “state secrets” privilege to shield information from scrutiny by courts, and he recently reversed a decision to release photos of detainee interrogations.

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ALSO JUST IN - a major event on RIGHTS

FBI and ACLU to Discuss "Civil Rights in the Era of Hope and Change" at ADC National Convention

Washington, DC | May 28, 2009 | | On Saturday June 14, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) will host a dynamic panel discussion entitled, "Civil Rights in the Era of Hope and Change" as part of this year's ADC Annual National Convention ( The discussion will feature John Miller; FBI Assistant Director, Preetmohan Singh; American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) National Board member, and Mike German; ACLU Policy Counsel and former FBI special agent, a sixteen-year veteran of the FBI.

This discussion comes at a critical time in the relationship between the FBI and the Arab and Muslim American communities as a result of FBI operations allegedly using agent provocateurs and the continued use of the controversial FBI Domestic Investigative Operational Guidelines (DIOGs) which follow the revised Attorney General guidelines implemented by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on December 1, 2008.

The panel discussion will follow the Annual Civil Rights Awards Lunch which will include keynote remarks by Deputy Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jane Holl Lute ( Biography ) and special remarks by the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

Special guests at this year's lunch will include Juliette N. Kayyem; DHS Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Programs. In January 2007 Kayyem became the first Arab-American to serve as a homeland security advisor at the state level when she was appointed as Massachusetts' first Undersecretary for Homeland Security by Gov. Deval L. Patrick. Kayyem served as keynote speaker during the 2007 ADC Annual Civil Rights Awards Lunch.

The honorees at this year's Civil Rights Awards Lunch include Yale Law School's Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic and National Litigation Project. Spearheaded by Professors Michael Wishnie, Hope Metcalf, Ramzi Kassem, Tina Monshipour Foster, and an outstanding team of Yale law students, the clinic continues to play a central and instrumental role in exposing targeted round-ups of Muslim immigrants during Operation Frontline in 2004 and 2005. Through the work of the clinic, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit resulted in the release of key documentation on Operation Frontline which, when analyzed, demonstrated systematic discrimination in immigration raids targeting Muslim immigrants.

ADC will also present this year's Excellence in Advocacy Award to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for their outstanding work toward substantively and constructively addressing challenges facing the Arab and Muslim community post-9/11. The Award will be accepted by MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati who has successfully spearheaded MPAC's excellent advocacy efforts on multiple levels.



ADC has secured a special Convention hotel rate of only $149/night single or double occupancy. You can reserve a hotel room at our rate here or call the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill directly to 202-737-1234 to take advantage of this special ADC Convention price and be sure you mention code AAAA. This rate will soon expire and ADC cannot guarantee rooms once this rate has expired.

Other confirmed speakers during this year's ADC Annual National Convention include Surprise Special Guest ***, Congressman Keith Ellison, Congressman John Dingle, Congressman Brian Baird, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Congressman Jim Moran, Archbishop Cappucci of Jerusalem, Dean of the White House Press Corps Helen Thomas, Professor John Mearsheimer, J Street Executive Director Jeremy Ben-Ami, Professor Jack Shaheen, Palestinian Member of the Kenesset Said Naffaa, Professor Saad Eddine Ibrahim, and AFL-CIO Middle East and North Africa Director Heba El-Shazli. For more information, please visit our Convention website: .

***This year's ADC convention will be very special. While we cannot yet formally announce why, let's just say you don't want to miss it and time is running out!

NOTE TO EDITORS: The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which is non sectarian and non partisan, is the largest Arab-American civil rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1980, by former Senator James Abourezk to protect the civil rights of people of Arab descent in the United States and to promote the cultural heritage of the Arabs. ADC has 38 chapters nationwide, including chapters in every major city in the country, and members in all 50 states.

The ADC Research Institute (ADC-RI), which was founded in 1981, is a Section 501(c)(3) educational organization that sponsors a wide range of programs on behalf of Arab Americans and of importance to all Americans. ADC-RI programs include research studies, seminars, conferences and publications that document and analyze the discrimination faced by Arab Americans in the workplace, schools, media, and governmental agencies and institutions. ADC-RI also celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Arabs.
Contact: Yousef Munayyer

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee |
1732 Wisconsin Ave., NW | Washington, DC | 20007
Tel: 202-244-2990 | Fax: 202-244-7968 | E-mail:

2009 ADC National Convention Website


Do you believe in ADC's mission? Are you looking for ways to fight for civil rights, a just American foreign policy, and a stronger Arab American community?

You can support ADC's educational work by giving to ADC-Research Institute (ADCRI). ADCRI is a 501 ( C ) 3 affiliate of ADC charged with providing tools and resources to educate people about Arab and Muslim Americans and issues of importance to the Arab and Muslim World.

Donations to ADC-RI are 100% tax deductible (Donations to ADC are not) and can be made securely online here:

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