Senate drops controversial Title V proposals, passes FY13 intel authorization bill (S. 3454)

The nine members of the Sunshine in Government Initiative are pleased the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (S. 3454) does not include proposals that would have curtailed the flow of information to the public about national security and foreign affairs. The media takes seriously the obligation to consider potential harms from disclosures of sensitive information while reporting the news. These proposals simply went too far in cutting off vital information to the public about world events and national security issues and had not been subject to adequate consideration by Congress.

We appreciate the many Members of Congress, especially Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Charles Shumer (D-NY) and their staffs — who diligently worked to achieve this outcome. We also appreciate Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) for responding to the concerns about the implications of these proposals on the ability of the public to be informed of national security and foreign affairs matters.

Members of the Sunshine in Government Initiative repeatedly voiced the concerns of the media about these proposals and explained how journalists report the news while protecting classified information. We will continue to work with Members of Congress to uphold the delicate balance between protecting legitimate government secrets and ensuring the free flow of information that is enshrined in the Constitution.

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