Peter Scheer
On Access by Peter Scheer

Obama blasts Afghans for expelling reporter who refused to ID confidential sources. So why the continued pursuit, at home, of NYT reporter James Risen?

To its credit, the Obama administration was quick and forceful in its condemnation this week of the Afghan government’s expulsion of New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who had angered the Karzai government by reporting that high-level Afghan officials were considering bypassing electoral procedures to establish an interim government—in effect, to stage a coup. But […]

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FAC sues Palm Springs water agencies for data on water use by corporate customers

The First Amendment Coalition has filed a CPRA suit against two government water agencies in the Palm Springs area to compel them to make public water usage data, by customer name, for each of their biggest corporate customers. The agencies, Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency, have published this information in past […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

US releases to FAC new legal memo on 2010 killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. Here’s our analysis.

The Justice Department on Friday released to the First Amendment Coalition a newly declassified legal memo advising the CIA on the legality of a proposed “lethal operation” against Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who joined forces with Al-Qaida and was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2010. The memo is posted […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Feedback from recent column, “Snowden Go Home”

I recently wrote that Edward Snowden should return to the US and face trial for his revelations about NSA surveillance. (“Snowden Go Home”). The longer Snowden is a fugitive (particularly in Vladimir Putin’s Russia), the harder it is to characterize his conduct–obtaining and disclosing classified records by the gigabyte–as an act of conscience. In the […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Time to shed light on CalPERS’ private equity investments

The public has grown accustomed to “pay to play” scandals and other misconduct at CalPERS, the nation’s largest public employee pension plan with over $300 million in investments. Still, the former CEO’s guilty plea entered in federal court last week was shocking even by CalPERS’ standards. Frederico Buenrostro, CalPERS’ top official from 2002 to 2008, […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Snowden, go home

Edward Snowden, leaker extraordinaire of classified NSA documents, is said to be seeking an extension of his political asylum in Russia, where he has resided, beyond the reach of US jurisdiction and under legal protection granted by Vladimir Putin personally, for a little over one year. Snowden seems to be settling in for the long […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

New “drone memo” to be released to FAC . . . and other developments in FAC’s legal cases

The US Justice Department has advised FAC that it plans to release a second redacted memo analyzing the legality of the government’s proposed use of force to kill al-Aulaqi, a US citizen who had joined Al Qaeda and taken on operational functions for Al-Qaeda’s  operations in Yemen. Al-Aulaqi was subsequently killed in a 2010 drone […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

Supremes pass on NYT reporter Risen’s appeal of ruling requiring him to ID sources. This is a good thing.

The US Supreme Court has declined to review a lower court order directing New York Times journalist James Risen to testify about his confidential sources for reporting on secret US efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Be thankful that the Court took a pass. Although the First Amendment Coalition  joined a legal brief urging the […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC news: Prop 42 victory, amicus briefs on the Wrap, NCAA, fee waivers & more

June has been a busy month for FAC, both legislatively and judicially. Most gratifying: California voters on June 4 approved, by a comfortable 61 percent margin, Prop 42, which amends the state constitution to fortify state open meetings and FOI laws. FAC supported and sponsored Prop 42 to end funding disputes between local governments and […]

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On Access by Peter Scheer

FAC’s Model Email Policy for Local Governments

Digital communications are the new arena for battles over government transparency. Public officials, like the rest of society, rely on email for communications about business–government business. While those emails are indisputably public records when sent or received by means of a government email account, the legal status of the very same emails, if sent from […]

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