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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

CIA IG office “mistakenly” deletes Senate report on CIA torture

This is why US government information needs to be preserved off of .gov servers by FDLP libraries and other non-governmental organizations. It’s not enough that each agency has an Inspector General. Each agency should have one or more libraries collecting, preserving and giving access to its information *regardless* of political embarrassment or any other excuse for government information being deleted and lost.

The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.Although other copies of the report exist, the erasure of the controversial document by the CIA office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released, according to multiple intelligence community sources familiar with the incident.The deletion of the document has been portrayed by agency officials to Senate investigators as an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general. In what one intelligence community source described as a series of errors straight “out of the Keystone Cops,” CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods.

via Senate report on CIA torture is one step closer to disappearing.

Four-part series by Washington Examiner examining the state of inspectors general

Thanks to Sabrina Pacifici at BeSpacific for posting about this Four-part series by the Washington Examiner examining and illuminating the work and current state of inspectors general. Inspectors General are little-known independent agencies of the United States federal government and are charged with identifying, auditing, and investigating fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement within the parent agency — but sometimes act against the public interest by sweeping issues under the rug or by persecuting instead of protecting federal whistleblowers (see e.g., Matt Taibi’s Rolling Stone piece “Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?”). There are 72 IGs as a result of a 1978 Inspector General Act proposed by President Carter in the wake of revelations of federal contractors being paid for work that was never done, shoddy office furniture being bought at premium prices, and widespread political manipulation of government procurement.

The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) includes a list of all agency IGs.

Lastly, Eric Mill has created Oversight.io a searchable database of 16,000+ (and growing) IG reports. Read his explanation of the project on the Sunlight Foundation blog and check out his GitHub of the project for background, shareable code, and ways to help with the project. Thanks Eric!!

[HT to beSpacific!.

Inspectors General Reports

One of the sources Daniel Schuman includes in his list of tools for Congressional Information deserves special mention.

  • Oversight.io | Bringing into sight the US government’s oversight community

    Most every piece of the US federal government has an office called the Inspector General (IG). An IG’s job is to keep their part of the government honest and efficient through strong, independent oversight. IGs produce a lot of work, but their reports are scattered all over the Internet. Some get the attention they deserve, and some don’t. It would be a shame for good oversight to go overlooked. We gather them in one place so you can freely search and subscribe to them.

    Oversight.io is a project of Eric Mill and its code is free and open source. Original writing licensed under CC-BY 4.0.Reports are collected through a public domain, volunteer-driven project. If you know some Python, lend a hand!All reports are the work of the US federal government and are taken directly from official government websites. They are in the public domain in the United States.

There are currently 16,200 reports indexed at Oversight.io!