Napolitano’s Homeland Security Filtered Public Document Requests Through Political Aides

Friday, July 23, 2010
Janet Napolitano

Perhaps Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano didn’t get the memo about the Obama administration being all for greater openness in government.

An investigation by the Associated Press has found that the Department of Homeland Security sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Napolitano’s political aides before deciding how to respond to them. The political review of FOIA submissions included digging up information about the requester, such as whether they were a reporter or a regular citizen, and to what party they belonged if the request came from a member of Congress.
Under federal law, FOIA requests are supposed to be processed regardless of who sends them in. The government is permitted not to comply with information requests only in cases involving national security, violation of personal privacy or exposure of confidential decision-making in certain areas, according to the Associated Press.
The news service’s investigation prompted Homeland Security to cease the practice. The department’s inspector general is reportedly investigating Napolitano’s staff to determine whether they violated the law.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
A Political Filter for Info Requests (by Ted Bridis, Associated Press) 


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