John D. Podesta
From October 1998 to January 2001, John Podesta served as chief of staff to
President Bill Clinton. During that time, he helped pave the way for the veto of
the “official secrets act,” which sought to criminalize the disclosure of
classified information and effectively stifle public discussion on a wide range
of foreign-policy issues.
Podesta began his work in the administration in 1993 as staff secretary.
During his two years in that position, he negotiated the issuance of Executive
Order No. 12958, which installed mechanisms to encourage agencies to declassify
more national-security information. Podesta’s work to promote honest, open
government led to his appointment to the Commission on Protecting and Reducing
Government Secrecy, chaired by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y. The first
commission to examine government secrecy in 40 years, the group's final report
in 1997 issued comprehensive recommendations to both the legislative and
executive branches on ways to reduce secrecy and promote an informed public.
Today, Podesta continues to champion open, accountable government. He is a
visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law School and president of
the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank he founded in
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.