The Government vs. the Freedom of Information Act

Friday, October 28, 2011


Currently, the government can avoid Freedom of Information Act requests in certain narrow circumstances by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of documents.  But new rules proposed by the Department of Justice would allow the government to lie to requesters, saying that documents don't exist even when they do. Brooke talks to Michael German, Policy Council for the American Civil Liberties Union, about this proposed rule change.

Smog - "Held"

Comments [2]

N.B. from Boston, MA

I think you failed to challenge the interview guest on at least one subject. He says early on in the interview that allowing the government to lie about this will cause investigators to get discouraged, and stop looking or fail to challenge the reported finding. But later on, he says that people will just treat a "no records" response as a lie, and then will clog the court system. These two statements are incompatible. If people are already challenging "no records" responses (which would appear to be the case if, as the guest suggests, they're often false) and are challenging the Glomar responses, then total litigation would be unlikely to go up.

I think he has a great argument about what should be policy with his suggestion that we can provide a clearer response by simply saying "We're not going to look for that, for X reasons." It's just that his predictions for what will happen vs. what is happening now are inconsistent.

Nov. 08 2011 08:53 PM

Hi Brook,

I know you guys at On the Media are all about balance and just scratch your heads every time some rightwing crazy suggested NPR is a liberal bastion of groupthought.

One question though- why didn't the words "Obama" show up ONCE in this story about the Government wanting to LIE to the people?

Let me guess- small oversight...I got ya.

"The Justice Department", "the Government" and "the administration" were all used- just no indication of which one.

Chalk this up as just one small (indicative) case in point.

Power to the people!

Nov. 06 2011 10:47 PM

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