Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government License to Lie

October 25, 2011 -

A proposed rule change to the Freedom of Information Act would give federal agencies a special exemption when it comes to certain types of information requests. The change would allow agencies to tell citizens requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do.

Under current rules of the FOIA, the government may withhold information and say that it can "neither confirm nor deny" the existence of such records. The new changes would give them a license to lie. The new proposal is part of a lengthy rule revision by the Department of Justice. Open-government groups object.

"We don’t believe the statute allows the government to lie to FOIA requesters,” Mike German, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union told ProPublica. Obviously the group opposes the provision.

The ACLU, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and OpenTheGovernment.org said that this change would “dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government to be twisted."

Advocacy groups propose different language: something along the lines of "you have requested …records which, if they exist, would not be subject to the disclosure requirements of FOIA..."

Advocacy groups also say that the proposed rule change could undermine judicial proceedings.

In a recent case brought by the ACLU of Southern California, the FBI denied the existence of documents, but the court later found that documents did exist. The judge on the case, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney wrote in his decision that the “Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court.”

The DOJ draft FOIA rule was published in March, but it re-opened comment submissions in September at the request of advocacy groups. The new comment period ended on October 19. The DOJ had no comment on the story written by ProPublica.

Source: ProPublica

Image provided by Shutterstock. All rights reserved.


Comments

Re: Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government ...

Imagine if the government (the entity as well as individuals operating within it) had to operate on the idea of The Truth, The WHOLE Truth, And Nothing But The Truth.

Apparently, someone feels that if FOX News can affirm in a court of law that knowingly and intentionally lying to and deceiving its audience is protected by the First Amendment, then MAYBE the government or one of its agencies, can do so also and claim that the First Amendment protects IT.

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government ...

It doesn't matter who's in charge, nothing changes (for the better).

Re: Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government ...

And I think to myself, "What a wonderful world..."

Re: Freedom of Information Act Change Would Give Government ...

Scary idea.. one branch of the government having permission to lie to another?

 
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Andrew EisenSleaker - Uh, yeah. Obviously.09/01/2014 - 8:20pm
Sleaker@AE - exclusives do not a console business make.09/01/2014 - 8:03pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that, despite the presence of a snopes article and multiple articles countering it, people are still spreading a fake news story about a "SWATter" being sentenced to X (because the number seems to keep changing) years in prison.09/01/2014 - 5:08pm
Papa MidnightAnd resulting in PC gaming continuing to be held back by developer habits09/01/2014 - 5:07pm
Papa MidnightI find it disappointing that the current gen of consoles is representative of 2009-2010 in PC gaming, and will be the bar by which games are released over the next 8 years - resulting in more years of poor PC ports (if they're ever ported)09/01/2014 - 5:06pm
Andrew EisenMeanwhile, 6 of Wii U's top 12 are exclusive: Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, Pikmin 3, Mario Kart 8, Wonderful 101, and ZombiU. (Wind Waker HD is on the list too but I didn't count it.)09/01/2014 - 4:36pm
Andrew EisenLikewise, only two of Xbox One's top 12 are exclusive: Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome (if you ignore a PC release later this year).09/01/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenNot to disrespect the current gen of consoles but I find it telling that of the "12 Best Games For The PS4" (per Kotaku), only two are exclusive to the system: Infamous: Second Son and Resogun.09/01/2014 - 4:30pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/09/01/beyond-two-souls-ps4-trophies-emerge-directors-cut-reported/ MMM MMM, nothing quire like reheated last gen games to make you appreciate the 400 bucks you spent on a new console.09/01/2014 - 4:24pm
Andrew EisenThat's actually a super depressing thought, that a bunch of retweeters are taking that pic as an illustration of the actual issue instead of an example of a complete misunderstanding of it.09/01/2014 - 4:20pm
Andrew EisenObviously, the picture was created by someone who doesn't understand what the issue actually is (or, possibly, someone trying to satire said misunderstanding).09/01/2014 - 4:10pm
Papa MidnightPeople fear and attack what they do not understand.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
Papa MidnightWell, let's not forget. Someone held their hand in a peace sign a few weeks ago and people started claiming it was a gang sign. Or a police chief displayed the hand signal of their fraternity and was accused of the same.09/01/2014 - 4:04pm
SleakerEither people don't understand that what the picture is saying is true, or the picture was created out of a misunderstanding of what sexism is.09/01/2014 - 3:52pm
Sleaker@AE ok yah that's where the kind of confusion I'm getting. Your tweet can be taken to mean two different things.09/01/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - No. No, not even remotely. The pic attached to my tweet was not made by me; it's not a statement I'm making. It's an illustration of the complete misunderstanding of the issue my tweet is referring to.09/01/2014 - 3:13pm
Papa MidnightIn other news, Netflix states why it paid Comcast: http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/29/technology/netflix-comcast/index.html?hpt=hp_t209/01/2014 - 3:10pm
Papa MidnightAndrew Eisen: Sites like Tumblr make things seem much bigger than they are. A vocal extreme minority start complaining and things go as they do.09/01/2014 - 3:09pm
SleakerAre you trying saying that specific costumes are sexist simply by being included in the game?09/01/2014 - 3:03pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Seems completely cut and dry to me (of course, I wrote it so that's not surprising). What about it do you find confusing?09/01/2014 - 2:25pm
 

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