The process of declassifying national security records, which is hardly expeditious under the best of circumstances, will become slower as a result of the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration.
Due to sequestration, “NARA has reduced funding dedicated to the declassification of Presidential records,” the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said in a report last week.
“Instead, NARA staff will prepare documents for declassification, in addition to their existing duties. This will slow declassification processes and delay other work, including FOIA responses and special access requests,” said the new report, which also identified several other adverse effects of the across-the-board cuts.
Meanwhile, because of the basic asymmetry between classification and declassification, there is no particular reason to expect a corresponding reduction in the rate at which new records are classified.
Classification is an integral part of the production of new national security information that cannot be deferred, while declassification is a distinct process that can easily be put on hold. Likewise, there is no dedicated budget for “classification” to cut in the way that NARA has cut declassification spending. And while Congress has erected barriers to declassification (such as the Kyl-Lott Amendment to prohibit automatic declassification of records without review), it has simultaneously allowed declassification requirements to go overlooked and unenforced.
Some declassification is actually mandated by law. A 1991 statute on the Foreign Relations of the United States series requires the Department of State to publish a “thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of major United States foreign policy decisions” no later than 30 years after the fact, necessitating the timely declassification of the underlying records. But law or no law, the government has not complied with this publication schedule.
The post Sequestration Slows Document Declassification appears on Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy. … Read More
Lil Bub, one of the Internet’s favorite cats, is the focus of Vice’s award-winning documentary ‘Lil Bub & Friendz.’ Talia Ralph Internet cat culture, meet Tribeca Film Fest. “Lil Bub & Friendz,” the Vice Media documentary directed by Andy Capper and…
… Read More
On ArtsBeat, Jenna Wortham reports on a new documentary, “Lil Bub & Friendz,” which is about Lil Bub, the cat Internet sensation, and other famous felines. It is showing on Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival. … Read More
A hard-hitting investigative documentary about the killing of Palestinian teenager Hamid Abu Dagga six days before Israel’s Operation Pillar of Cloud. This was the hidden story that sparked the recent 8-day war.This film will be used by the Abu Dagga family to launch their legal proceedings against the state of Israel. … Read More
http://www.youtube.com/v/8tEoO7xO6jk?version=3&f=videos&app=youtube_gdata View post: Press TV’s Documentary- America’s 33 Dollar Mercenaries (II)
How do federal health
bureaucrats know that the $35 billion health information technology
program has been a success? Because it’s spent a lot of money
already—almost $9 billion.
new report on the Health Information Technology and Economic
and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), which was passed as part of the
2009 stimulus, notes, senior Medicare officials seem rather focused
on the total volume of money spent as a measure of success.
The HITECH act provides incentive payments to health providers
who adopt and install electronic health records systems. But the
primary goal seems to be to get those payments out the door as
quickly as possible.
The new report, issued by a group of Republican senators, notes
that the program lacks a meaningful check on those who apply for
the incentive payments. Providers simply self-report that they have
met the necessary criteria—no documentary evidence necessary. The
report suggests that “this would be like an individual claiming to
have won the lottery but not being required to produce the winning
lottery ticket in order to collect the payout.”
Medicare’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has warned that
this is a potential problem. The OIG issued a report
last year saying that Medicare “does not verify the accuracy” of
the self-reported information by health providers claiming the
incentives prior to payment—and even noted a few examples of
providers who had reported themselves eligible, but had not
actually met the requirements.
Yet officials at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
(CMS) did not agree with the OIG report’s conclusion that
additional checks prior to payment would be necessary. Why? Because
it could delay the program’s payments.
Never mind, in other words, whether the money is going to the
right people, or being spent effectively. The important thing is
that the money is being spent.
Indeed, officials in charge of that program have been explicit
about that attitude. ;
As the new GOP report notes, a senior Medicare official in
charge of the health IT program has openly touted its success by
pointing to the successful doling out of payments: “In the opening
session of the 2012 Office of the National Coordinator for Health
IT Annual Meeting, Farzad Moshashari, National Coordinator for
Health IT, highlighted how much money has been spent and suggested
it was the measure of success of the EHR program. He recognized the
CMS staff who have helped facilitate the “$9 billion” that has been
provided to states that ‘had the highest proportion of eligible
Meanwhile, even though providers are getting paid, the program
is failing to achieve one of its key goals: interoperability. It’s
not enough to merely incentivize health providers to install
electronic health records systems. For them to work the way the
incentive program’s boosters had hoped, they also need to be able
to easily communicate with each other. That’s
not happening. As a study by RAND noted earlier this year, “the
health IT systems that currently dominate the market are not
designed to talk to each other.” Instead, they’re designed to lock
providers into long-term relationships with vendors who maintain
expensive proprietary technology systems.
In the end, these health records systems, which were sold as a
way to reduce health costs in the long run by facilitating better
record keeping and transfer, may end up costing taxpayers money.
That’s because they make it easier for providers to bill more to
assisting them with Medicare’s complex billing procedures. … Read More