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CRS Reports ‘Set Free’ by Wikileaks

Over the weekend released thousands of Congressional Research Reports that have not been on the Internet in the past. It also seems that Wikileaks now has found a source to get all new and updated reports.

For years CDT has run the Open CRS project as a way to provide access to CRS reports. OpenCRS has aggregated the non-classified, non-confidential reports posted by our partners, including the Federation of American Scientists and the National Council for Science and the Environment, as well as those submitted directly to Open CRS. Through these means, we estimate that Open CRS has been getting about 80% of new reports. Thanks to Wikileaks, which provided Open CRS with a full download of all the reports they collected, the project now houses the most up-to-date and historical record of these reports.

American taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund CRS, which acts as Congress’ own “think tank.” The reports, however, aren’t made directly available to the public for a variety of arcane and political reasons. This is despite the fact that Congress has a direct pipeline to these reports via an online computer system.

Now that Wikileaks has put these documents up, we see little reason for Congress to keep up its façade that artificially restricts public access to these critically informative reports despite the fact that pay services have had all of these reports available to those with the money for years. Perhaps now Members will move quickly to pass legislation to provide quick and easy access to these reports and bring a halt the ridiculous cloak-and-dagger atmosphere that to-date has surrounded their release.