SECRECY NEWS
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 5
January 12, 2007

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

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OMB BACKS AWAY FROM DISPUTED RISK ASSESSMENT POLICY

In an uncommon victory for the objectivity of the scientific advisory process, the Office of Management and Budget said that it would not implement a proposed new policy on regulatory risk assessments after a National Academy of Sciences panel said the policy was "fundamentally flawed."

Last January the OMB issued a proposed "bulletin" that prescribed new, centralized procedures for performing regulatory risk assessments.

But "the proposed definition of risk assessment in the OMB bulletin departs without justification from long-established concepts and practices," the NAS panel said.

What's worse, the proposed changes would mean that "agency risk assessments are more susceptible to being manipulated to achieve a predetermined result."

Accordingly, the NAS panel recommended that the OMB bulletin be withdrawn. See this January 11 news release on the NAS report:

In light of the NAS critique, the OMB will not finalize the proposed bulletin, Rick Weiss of the Washington Post reported today.

OMB Watch has further background on the OMB proposal and the resulting controversy here:


ENHANCED WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS PROPOSED

A bill to amend and strengthen the Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced yesterday by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and several bipartisan Senate colleagues.

"Our legislation ensures that Federal whistleblowers are protected from retaliatory action when notifying the public and government leaders of waste, fraud, and abuse," Senator Akaka said.

"If we fail to protect whistleblowers, then our efforts to improve government management, protect the public, and secure the nation will also fail."

See Introduction of the "Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act," January 11:


EVEN MORE FROM CRS

Some noteworthy, newly updated products of the Congressional Research Service that are not readily available in the public domain include the following.

"Congressional Oversight Manual," updated January 3, 2007:

"Paperwork Reduction Act Reauthorization and Government Information Management Issues," updated January 4, 2007:

"Nuclear Arms Control: The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty," updated January 3, 2007:

"Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status," updated December 26, 2006:

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Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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