Obama Administration Proposes Weakening Freedom Of Information Act

freedom of information actObama 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.

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  • Kane VonDoom

    It seems our system has become some sort of Bizarro parody of itself.

  • InfvoCuernos

    Wasn’t Obama supposed to be the “transparency” guy? I thought it sounded like a heap of horseshit.

    • Anarchy Pony

      What I don’t get is why progressives won’t see the fucking truth about the guy. What kind of mental gymnastics do they have to do to keep supporting him?

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

        They don’t care so long as they can snark about how ‘crazy’ those “other” people are. As long as liberals get to be the ‘smart ones’ they are happy. I hate identifying as leftist because of those pompous prias driving assholes.

      • The Well Dressed Man

        Much of the left is too invested to let go. I was also swept along for quite some time. All the irrational attacks that started in his first term (birther, secret Muslim/Marxist etc) seem to have hardened supporters against any criticism.

        http://narwhaler.com/original/dv/y/i-want-to-believe-in-obama-DVyFkM.jpg

      • InfvoCuernos

        Its the same as the right. You line up behind your party don’t break ranks no matter how fucked up your guy is. Remember that as low as Bush’s approval rating was in that last year, there were still people that said he was doing great, and the percent was too high to just be rich govt. contractors happy about their billions from war profits. Some people are single issue voters that are afraid of the alternative, rather than being concerned that their guy is going to do right for the country.

      • rtb61

        I’ll think you’ll find progressives have effected been silenced by the democratic parties control of a lot of the organisations they are a part of.
        Daily Kos is an excellent example of a party political website pretending to be a progressive web site. Write an anti-Obama missive and you will get negative rated into oblivion not able to comment for an extended penalty period (mine for challenging the current Administrations failure to prosecute the previous Administration for their publicly exposed lies).
        So active political party based censorship going on, on both sides of the pretend aisle.
        Just write Uncle Tom Obama anywhere and watch the party hacks attack. Their concern, nothing but lining their own pockets.

        • alizardx

          Saw the fanatics crawl out of the woodwork during Obama’s first presidential run. Even though I supported him then, those people already looked batshit crazy. Left DailyKos shortly after using word “Obamabot” became a bannable offense.

          Admire the few actual progressives like Bob Swern and Pluto who have managed to stick it out, but I didn’t see any point in staying in a place where one can only hold a rational public policy discussion as long as the Obamabot mob doesn’t find it.

      • alizardx

        Progressive / conservative are no longer ideologies, they’re marketing demographics for Coke v Pepsi brands of neoliberal centrism. Modern conservatism is neoliberalsm with a side order of bigotry aimed at the people who KNOW they were left behind in the growth of new technology. Liberalism is by and large aimed at the better educated rank and file people who are still managing to get paid to make new tech and culture.

        If one is polite, one can call them tribal identities. But the people who actually gave a shit about making a constructive difference through intelligent public policy have departed both movements – though we’d argue that those movements left us as they both got pushed over the edge.

        At least there’s a word for conservatives like Barry Goldwater whose movement left them, it’s paleo-conservative. I think paleo-progressive would be a useful word.

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