Government seeks to hide existence of records under FOIA rule proposal

Discussion in 'Politics' started by DemZad, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do.

    Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records.

    The new proposal – part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice – would direct government agencies to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist."

    Open-government groups object. "We don’t believe the statute allows the government to lie to FOIA requesters,” said Mike German, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the provision.

    The ACLU, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and said the move would “dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government to be twisted.

    The Glomar denial arose in the mid-1970s when a Los Angeles Times reporter requested information about the CIA’s Glomar Explorer, built to recover a sunken Soviet submarine and the CIA’s attempt to suppress stories about it.

    But the advocacy groups propose another response: You have requested “…records which, if they exist, would not be subject to the disclosure requirements of FOIA...”

    They prefer such language because a last resort is to sue to obtain the records, something people requesting information might not do if they assumed that no records existed.

    TL;DR (too long didn't read): Transparency Award winning Obama administration seeks to be able to lie about the very existence of records requested under the freedom of information act.
  2. thank god for the aclu. wait a minute. conservatives hate the aclu and want the aclu killed.
  3. Conservatives may indeed hate the ACLU by default, but the Obama admin is giving them far more work than the Bush admin ever did.
  4. Crispy


    Liberty in eclipse...

    Does anybody still doubt that the state always equals violence in all ways?
  5. The state does have a monopoly on the initiation of violence, of that there is no doubt. Reminds me of a strangely appropriate quote from "Starship Troopers" (the book was actually on the professional military reading list but the movie was vastly different):

    "violence: the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived."
  6. rew


    I do not like the ACLU suing everybody who tries to enforce immigration law, or anybody who dares to express his Christianity in public, but they are right on the unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act and the need for open government.

    So the ACLU is a mixed bag. If it had more strict constitutionalists and far fewer lefty nut jobs it would be a great organization.