Government Oversight: Homeland Security
The newly formed Office of Homeland Security (OHS) is pursuing many policy proposals that will have a significant impact on the authority of federal and state agencies operating within the United States. The Homeland Security Director, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, is responsible for a broad range of policymaking functions, including those that implicate the privacy rights of Americans and the powers of law enforcement agencies.
Federal agencies are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), an open government law that helps ensure accountability and public oversight even in matters of public safety and law enforcement. It is EPIC's position that the OHS is subject to the same record disclosure obligations as other federal agencies that engage in significant policymaking.
EPIC is seeking the expedited release under the FOIA of OHS documents that discuss new technical and legislative proposals that could lead to the creation of a national identification system. After OHS failed to respond to EPIC's initial expedited request, EPIC filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. On May 2, 2002, the government moved to dismiss the case on the ground that OHS is not subject to the FOIA. The issue is now being litigated.
- EPIC v. Office of Homeland Security, filed April 2, 2002, D.C. Dist. Ct. (PDF)
- Press Release
- EPIC Fact Sheet on OHS
- Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee (April 9, 2002)
- Letter to Senators Daschle & Lott and Representatives Burton and Waxman (April 2, 2002)
- Office of Homeland Security
- Office of Homeland Security News Archive
- Homeland Security Budget Priorities
- Homeland Security vs. Privacy: a GlobalPOV discussion with EPIC Policy Analyst Mihir Kshirsagar. October 2002.
- Brookings Institution Project on Homeland Security
- U.S. Commission on National Security (Hart-Rudman Commission)
- Anser Institute for Homeland Security news links (excellent resource)
- Government Computer News Homeland Security news
- Federal Computer Week Homeland Security news
- GAO Report on Framework for Homeland Security (PDF)
- Senate Governmental Affairs Committeee Hearing on Legislative Options to Strengthen Homeland Defense. October 12, 2001.
- Federation of American Scientists' page on Bush Administration Documents on Secrecy Policy
- White House Guidance on Safeguarding WMD Information and Sensitive Homeland Security Documents, memo from WH Chief of Staff Andrew Card, March 19, 2002.
Share this page:
Subscribe to the EPIC Alert
The EPIC Alert is a biweekly newsletter highlighting emerging privacy issues.