Sunday, October 30, 2011

Your Government Will Now Lie To You, Leqally

Under a new proposed plan, the government would be able to defer FOIA requests for certain documents not just by refusing them, but by making claims that the files don’t even exist. A report this week from ProPublica reveals that certain documents pertaining to law-enforcement matters or issues of national security could be just shrugged off with officials being able to lie about the existence of documents that they decide to deem as imaginary.

According to the actual wording of the proposal that the Department of Justice recently offered, agencies would be able to respond to requests “as if the excluded records did not exist." Politicians, journalists, researchers and any concerned citizen hoping to dig deep into certain matters would thus not just hit a road block, but be posed with a detour altogether. With the government denying the existence of potentially crucial materials, the public could only be expected to take their word for it and go on assuming they were simply on a path to something that never was.

“The problem is, if you’re a FOIA requester and the agency says they don’t have the records, you have no reason to doubt that,” Anne Weismann, the chief counsel of CREW, tells the Daily Caller. She adds that she believes that the government has a responsibility at times to protect sensitive information from certain audience, but this proposal “is an overbroad and improper response.”


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