OPEN GOVERNMENT — Newly confirmed U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder pledged, while being scrutinized by the Senate, that he would review current litigation in which the Bush Administration has asserted the state secrets privilege and would seek to minimize its use, and also affirmed a general commitment to open government., reports Steven Aftergood in Secrecy News.
I will review significant pending cases in which DOJ has invoked the state secrets privilege, and will work with leaders in other agencies and professionals at the Department of Justice to ensure that the United States invokes the state secrets privilege only in legally appropriate situations, Mr. Holder wrote in response to pre-confirmation questions for the record from Sen. Russ Feingold.***** I firmly believe that transparency is a key to good government. Openness allows the public to have faith that its government obeys the law, Mr. Holder told Sen. Feingold. More particularly, he said he favored maximum public disclosure of Office of Legal Counsel opinions. Once the new Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel is confirmed, I plan to instruct that official to review the OLCs policies relating to publication of its opinions with the [objective] of making its opinions available to the maximum extent consistent with sound practice and competing concerns, Mr. Holder wrote.