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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PHX Corp@Adam802 We'll break out the popcorn in June12/19/2014 - 9:23pm
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante: I'm itching to start it too but I will wait till the patch goes live. >>12/19/2014 - 7:52pm
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MaskedPixelanteNevermind. Turns out when they said "the patch is now live", they meant "it's still in beta".12/19/2014 - 5:07pm
MaskedPixelanteSo I bought Dark Souls PC, and it's forcing me to log into GFWL. Did I miss something?12/19/2014 - 5:00pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/republicans-may-have-plan-to-save-internet-providers-from-utility-rules/ this is intreasting. congress may put net nutrality in to law to avoid title 2 classification12/19/2014 - 2:45pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.polygon.com/2014/12/19/7421953/bullshit-cards-against-humanity-donated-250k-sunlight-foundation I have to admit I like the choice o organization. congrats to CAH.12/19/2014 - 1:51pm
E. Zachary KnightIf you are downloading a copy in order to bypass the DRM, then you are legally in the wrong. Ethically, if you bought the game, it doesn't matter where you download it in the future.12/19/2014 - 12:06pm
InfophileEZK: Certainly better that way, though not foolproof. Makes me think though: does it count as piracy if you download a game you already paid for, just not from the place you paid for it at? Ethically, I'd say no, but legally, probably yes.12/19/2014 - 11:20am
ZippyDSMleeAnd I still spent 200$ in the last month on steam/GOG stuff sales get me nearly every time ><12/19/2014 - 10:55am
ZippyDSMleeMaskedPixelante:And this is why I'm a one legged bandit.12/19/2014 - 10:51am
ZippyDSMleeE. Zachary Knight: I buy what I can as long as I can get cracks for it...then again it I could have gotton Lords of the Fallen for 30 with DLC I would have ><12/19/2014 - 10:50am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/19/marvel-vs-capcom-origins-leaving-online-storefronts-soon/ Speaking of "last chance to buy", Marvel vs. Capcom Origins is getting delisted from all major storefronts. Behold the wonders of the all digital future.12/19/2014 - 9:59am
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E. Zachary KnightInfophile, Tha is why I buy only DRM-free games.12/19/2014 - 9:37am
MaskedPixelanteNordic is back on GOG for one weekend only. And at 85% off no less, which is kind of a slap in the face to people who paid more during the "NORDIC IS LEAVING FOREVER BUY NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE" sale, but whatever...12/19/2014 - 9:28am
InfophileRe PHX's link: This is one of the reasons the digital revolution isn't all it's cracked up to be. There's also the flip side where Sony can block access to games you've bought if they ban your account for unrelated reasons. All power is theirs.12/19/2014 - 8:52am
MaskedPixelantehttp://uplay.ubi.com/#!/en-US/events/uplay-15-days You can win FREE GAMES FOR A YEAR! Unfortunately, they're Ubisoft games.12/18/2014 - 6:29pm
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