Rosemary Award – A Reminder that Constant Vigilance Matters

The wait is over – the votes are in!  And the winner of the Rosemary Award is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,  named today as recipient of the uncoveted award for worst open government performance in 2013.   Clapper topped a high profile list of “secrecy fetishists and enablers” for his resounding “No, Sir” response to Senator Ron Wyden’s question: ”Does the NSA [National Security Agency] collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”   — a comment Clapper later referred to as the “least untruthful” answer possible to congressional questions about the secret bulk collection of Americans’ phone call data.

The Rosemary Award, conferred by the National Security Archive, (not to be confused with the National Security Agency) is named after President Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods who testified she had erased 18½ minutes of a crucial, possibly incriminating, Watergate tape by somehow manipulating an inadvertent bodily move that involved answering a phone while holding her foot on the pedal of her tape transcribing device. *

The Rosemary Award also recognizes other individuals identified by the National Security Archive as “Clapper’s fellow secrecy fetishists and enablers including General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, former FBI director Robert Mueller, the National Security Division lawyers at the Justice Department, and President Obama

Though the approach is light-hearted, the intent of the Rosemary Award is to “highlight the lowlights of government secrecy” and, by implication, to emphasize the responsibility of Americans to hold their elected and appointed government officials accountable.

For a full description of the rationale for the decision re. this year’s Rosemary Award, along with background on the National Security Archive click here. (

– – – – –

  • Visual images of Rose Mary Woods’ demonstration of how she manipulated these antique instruments once common in government and corporate offices are available online at www.narchives.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.