About POGO

Dana Liebelson

Former Beth Daley Impact Fellow

Osprey Odyssey: Rep Jones' Ten-Year Quest to Clear the Names of Two Marine Corps Pilots

November 7, 2011

In the spring of 2000, an MV-22 Osprey carrying 19 Marines crashed in the desert of Arizona during a nighttime training exercise, killing everyone on board. After the Marine Corps hastily announced that the crash was the result of human error, the news made the usual media rounds and then all but disappeared for the next decade. But for Representative Walter Jones (R-NC), this wasn’t the end of the story, it was only the prelude. After attending the funeral and meeting one of the Osprey pilots’ widows—who insisted that the crash was the result of faulty aircraft design, not pilot error—Jones embarked on a ten-year odyssey that continues to this day: a quest to hold the military accountable, clear the pilots’ names, and fight for the truth.

Super Committee is a Super Failure, But There's Still Hope for Taxpayers

November 22, 2012

The bipartisan Super Committee tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade is officially a super failure. Now, there's another question looming over the heads of American taxpayers: will Congress learn from its mistakes?

5 Things the Public Wouldn't Know Without FOIA

July 4, 2012

It has been 46 years since President Lyndon Johnson quietly signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) into law on the Fourth of July, officially giving the public access to federal government records. With thousands upon thousands of requests now processed per year, it’s easy to take this law for granted. But to this day, ordinary citizens must fight to obtain important records—particularly those showing government wrongdoing. In that spirit, here are five important pieces of government information that, without FOIA, would still be hidden from the public.

F-22 Fighter Jet Mishap Challenges Air Force Explanation of Flight Problems

July 4, 2012

Pilots flying America's most expensive fighter jet are suffering from mysterious health problems, and the Pentagon can’t explain why. The Air Force suggested last month that pressure vests worn by the pilots might be interfering with their ability to fly the plane, so it made the pilots remove them. But last week, an aviator flying the F-22 Raptor suffered another emergency, The New York Times reported.

Navy Avoids Giving Members of Congress Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Docs

June 29, 2012

The Navy continues to play games when it comes to releasing critical information about the water contamination at Camp Lejeune—this time, by dodging the document request made by nine Members of Congress, the Project On Government Oversight learned today. But the fight for more information on Camp Lejeune is far from over.

Intelligence Chief Uses Unreliable Lie Detector Technology to Plug Media Leaks

June 27, 2012

The testing could put intelligence workers at risk of being falsely stigmatized, jeopardizing their careers and their ability to contribute to the national security. It also could have a chilling effect on employees considering blowing the whistle on government wrongdoing.

An Interview with Rolling Stone Reporter Michael Hastings

June 21, 2012

Michael Hastings never thought he was going to get the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan fired. But in June 2010, one of the hottest D.C. summers on record, the Rolling Stone reporter—who was then only 30-years-old—penned a piece that sent shockwaves through Washington and left high-ranking military brass scrambling for their jobs. All it took was for Hastings to write about what he heard and saw while traveling with U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

7 Types of Government Information that Would Benefit from Springtime Sunshine

May 22, 2012

Here in the District, spring is in the air! Rock Creek Park is abloom, the tourists are out on the Mall, there are mile-long lines to the food trucks, and the sun is shining. At POGO, when we see sunshine, we can't help but consider one of our favorite issues: government transparency. Unfortunately, there's some important government information that’s still sitting in the dark.

Key NDAA Reforms: Nuclear Weapons Complex Edition

May 18, 2012

This week, the House rejected key amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have prevented rollbacks of oversight at our nation's nuclear weapons labs and would have maintained zero funding for an unnecessary $6 billion plutonium facility.

Lt. Col. Danny Davis, Camp Lejeune Documentary and Other Whistleblowers Honored at Ridenhour Awards

April 26, 2012

Eileen Foster, a former senior executive for the national's largest mortgage provider, Countrywide Financial, didn't plan on getting labeled a whistleblower. She was hired to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by company employees. But when she did her job and revealed large-scale fraud within the company—the kind that led to the 2008 financial crash—she was fired for telling the truth.

Failed Equipment, Flawed Designs Plague Lockheed Littoral Combat Ship

April 23, 2012

POGO sent a letter today to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees recommending that an expensive and severely flawed variant of the Littoral Combat Ship program be eliminated. The letter comes on the heels of POGO's release of Navy documents revealing serious cracking and corrosion problems with the ship--along with evidence of dangerous equipment failures.

V-22 Morocco Crash Latest in Program Expert Says Should Have Been Stopped

April 12, 2012

A V-22 Osprey crashed during a training exercise in Morocco yesterday, killing two U.S. Marines and severely injuring two others. The cause of this particular accident is unknown, but some crashes in the past have involved a dangerous flying condition of which the V-22 is prone to experience. The Morocco crash brings the total number of fatalities from V-22 accidents to 36. Of those fatalities, all but four have taken place during training exercises—not in combat zones—and the lion’s share of those training exercise deaths occurred in one notorious accident.

Key Member of Congress Lends Support to Whistleblower Robert MacLean

March 23, 2012

Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) have submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on behalf of Robert MacLean--a whistleblower who revealed wrongdoing in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (HOGR) and a long-time champion for whistleblower rights, is the most recent representative to join the cause.

Camp Lejeune Report Author Says Redactions Compromise the Science, Sen. Burr Calls for IG Investigation

March 8, 2012

Today, accusations were released from the author of the report on the Camp Lejeune water contamination, detailing how the scientific integrity of the report was compromised by redactions requested by the Navy/Marine Corps and granted by Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

POGO Asks Panetta to Stop Funding B61 Nuclear Bombs in Europe

February 12, 2012

When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled his plan to achieve $487 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years, he hinted that a smart strategy would mean cutting the number of nuclear weapons.

Navy Marks Camp Lejeune Contamination Docs with Bogus "For Official Use Only" Label

February 2, 2012

The evidence that the Department of the Navy is using legally questionable methods to stop the release of information related to the water contamination scandal at Camp Lejeune keeps piling up.

Six Americans Obama and Holder Charged Under the Espionage Act (and One Bonus Whistleblower)

January 27, 2012

Though rare, U.S. presidents have attempted to use the World War I-era Espionage Act to silence Americans from leaking information to the media for decades. It is a charge that is as controversial, as it is grave. This is the law the Nixon administration infamously invoked when attempting to bar the media from continuing to publish the classified Pentagon Papers—the second largest leak of classified information to the press in the U.S., after Wikileaks. Nixon of course, was unsuccessful, and his shattered reputation never recovered.

Letter: Is the Navy Trying to Keep the Camp Lejeune Investigation Secret?

January 11, 2012

POGO received a curious letter today revealing that the Department of Navy seems to be putting pressure on another government agency to stymie its release of information related to the water contamination scandal at Camp Lejeune.

98 Percent of Former Military Officers Drop Out of Pentagon Program after Financial Disclosure

November 9, 2011

Since Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the Pentagon to require "senior mentors" to file public financial disclosure documents, 98 percent of the retired senior officers from the Navy, Marines and three special combatant commands have left the program, according to a Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) report released on October 31.

Did Your FOIA Request Really Not Exist--Or is That Just What the DOJ Told You?

November 4, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) came to its senses on Thursday and scrapped a controversial proposal that would model the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the first rule of Fight Club. Then it backpedaled by saying it has actually been misleading FOIA requesters about the existence of certain documents for the last nearly 25 years--the proposed rule would have just put the practice into its regulations.