Transparency & Accountability
Government transparency and accountability is vital to effective national security policies. After 9/11, the Bush administration developed and implemented counterterrorism policies behind closed doors and with little exchange of ideas. The result was policies that made our nation less safe by alienating our allies, providing powerful recruiting tools to our enemies, and undercutting our ability to insist on the humane treatment of American soldiers. The Obama administration continued to shroud much of the executive branch’s counterterrorism work in secrecy.
Without transparency, there can be no accountability, and no effective check on misguided policies or governmental abuses of power. The problem is exacerbated by the creation after 9/11 of myriad new counterterrorism institutions without the necessary oversight mechanisms to accompany them. The Brennan Center is working to ensure that all levels of government operate openly and accountably in conducting counterterrorism operations.