Obama pushes for officials to gain the right to lie about the existence of documents or materials. Via the Denver Post:
The federal Freedom of Information Act was supposed to be a torch that journalists, advocates and ordinary people could use to cast a light on the operations of their government. It’s profoundly disappointing to see the Obama administration proposing changes to FOIA that would allow federal agencies to lie about the very existence of information being sought.
The worst among them is the proposed change that would allow the government to tell those requesting information under FOIA that the material does not exist when, in fact, it does. The change would apply to certain law enforcement or national security documents.
Currently, the government can issue what is called a Glomar response, which is when the government neither confirms nor denies the existence of the material.
That term was coined after a Los Angeles Times reporter in the mid-1970s attempted to obtain information about the CIA’s Glomar Explorer, a vessel built to raise a sunken Soviet submarine from the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
Moving from a Glomar denial to outright deceit would have even broader ramifications if the person denied information were to decide to take the matter to court. In that case, would the government be in a position of lying to the court about the existence of information? That’s dangerous territory.