Morton H. Halperin

Monday, March 6, 2006

Morton Halperin is director of U.S. advocacy at the Open Society Institute, executive director of the Open Society Policy Center, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

While with the American Civil Liberties Union from 1975 to 1992, Halperin focused on government secrecy and the Freedom of Information Act. He played a key role in the enactment of the 1974 amendments to the FOIA over President Ford’s objections and was deeply engaged in subsequent efforts to expand and protect the FOIA. In his writings he developed the idea of a balancing test to determine whether information should remain classified and lobbied to have the concept included in the Carter administration’s Executive Order on Classification.

While serving on the National Security Council staff in the Clinton administration he played a key role in developing the Clinton executive order which partially restored the balancing-test provision and made other changes that reduced government secrecy. In the last years of the Clinton administration Halperin served as director of the policy planning staff at the State Department and was instrumental in the administration's decision to declassify documents related to the Pinochet period in Chile on an expedited basis and under a stricter standard than contained in the executive order.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.