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

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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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Goth_SkunkLike I said, speculation. But evidently that's enough for a site like The Mary Sue.05/04/2015 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.themarysue.com/joss-whedon-deleted-twitter-account/ he seems to be tired off all the crap on twitter.05/04/2015 - 4:55pm
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Goth_SkunkAFAIK, no one knows. It's all just speculation at this point.05/04/2015 - 4:50pm
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Goth_SkunkNot sure if it's something this site would be interested in reporting, but Joss Whedon shut down his twitter account today.05/04/2015 - 4:46pm
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Goth_Skunk@AE: Re: deletion of IanC's comment, you should probably extend that same courtesy towards Conster's comment about GG trolls pretending to be looters in Baltimore, too. Though to be fair, IanC's comment was deleted before I had a chance to read it.05/04/2015 - 4:35pm
james_fudgere: Sommers - I simply wrote that she's a "feminist" in our report.05/04/2015 - 3:53pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6lyURyVz7k its not gamming related, but this past weeks lastweek tonight is a must see.05/04/2015 - 3:39pm
Andrew EisenAlso, how are they trying to paint Sommers in a bad light? Far as I can see, all it says is she's "a professor and critic of contemporary feminism."05/04/2015 - 2:19pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume you're referring to Kotaku's report on the bomb threat. What comments are being censored? Any evidence? Not saying it didn't happen. I certainly censored yours, and for damn good reason.05/04/2015 - 2:18pm
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IanCOh and GG has not been "dormant" its just that this site can't be bothered to report it. Im surprised they even reported the bomb threat. Threats against both sides are wrong, regardless of who is doing it.05/04/2015 - 1:44pm
IanCOh and Conster thats just sick. I like how its "i hate this group, lets pretend that they are doing something even worse". Thats just wrong.05/04/2015 - 1:41pm
IanCKotaku have been censoring comments on that article. They also tried to paint Christina Sommers in a bad light, just because she isn't the type of feminist that they agree with.05/04/2015 - 1:39pm
E. Zachary KnightConster, I think that might be a little uncalled for.05/04/2015 - 10:20am
 

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