New Rule Would Allow Government to Say Existing Records Don’t Exist

Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The Obama administration wants to make it more difficult for the public to determine if secret documents exist by allowing agencies to lie about them.
Under a new rule crafted by the Department of Justice, the Freedom of Information Act would be amended to allow federal offices to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security records that they don’t exist—even when they do.
Currently, the government can withhold information by stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the records in question.
Government watchdog organizations are opposing the change.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and wrote to the Justice Department, saying the new rule would “dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government to be twisted.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff

Letter to Caroline Smith (American Civil Liberties Union) (pdf) 


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