NEWS ABOUT: Freedom of Information Act

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Analysis: Obama's Transparency Push a Flop

Feds cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times

(Newser) - The Obama administration pledged to boost transparency in the White House from the get-go, but it hasn't exactly been a promise kept. In virtually every category, the government's efforts to be more open about its activities in 2013 were their worst since Barack Obama first took office, the... More »

Bush Archives Now Open to Public

Library now taking Freedom of Information Act requests

(Newser) - The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is set to begin accepting Freedom of Information Act requests for records from Bush's presidency. The Dallas library will start taking requests today, which marks five years from the end of Bush's presidency. Access to the records is governed by... More »

Denials Aside, the CIA Spied on Noam Chomsky

FOIA request reveals secret memo on the MIT professor

(Newser) - The CIA would never keep a file on political dissident Noam Chomsky—right? For years, the agency denied keeping a Chomsky file, but a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI has punctured a hole in that story, Foreign Policy reports. Turns out that a CIA memo to the... More »

NSA: Search Our Own Emails? We Actually Can't

ProPublica's Freedom of Information Act request gets the brush-off

(Newser) - The NSA's mighty information-gathering powers apparently do not extend to its own employees' inboxes. ProPublica filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the spy agency, asking for all emails between its employees and the National Geographic Channel, which has aired some decidedly NSA-friendly documentaries. The agency refused, saying... More »

Feds Name Gitmo's 'Indefinite Detainees'

46 inmates can't be tried, transferred, or released

(Newser) - The names of Guantanamo's dozens of "indefinite detainees" deemed too dangerous to release even if the detention center is closed have been disclosed for the first time. In response to a lawsuit from the Miami Herald , the federal government released a list of prisoners including 26 Yemenis, 12... More »

New York: Sorry, Our Video Parodying Secrecy Is Secret

Andrew Cuomo denies Freedom of Information Act request

(Newser) - Isn't government secrecy funny? Andrew Cuomo thought so, so the New York governor—who campaigned on a promise of transparency—shot a video with his aides last year poking fun at the reputation for secrecy he's earned since. It was played during the Albany press corps' gala last... More »

Court: CIA Can't Say There's No Drone Program

ACLU records request alive once more.

(Newser) - The CIA can't just pretend its drone program doesn't exist to avoid releasing its records, a federal appeals court ruled today, reviving an ACLU lawsuit to obtain them. The CIA had rejected the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request, saying it couldn't confirm or deny that... More »

NY Newspaper in Firestorm Over Map of Gun Owners

Irate readers say map tells criminals which houses to rob

(Newser) - A New York newspaper has plopped itself squarely in the middle of America's gun control controversy by publishing an interactive map of homes with gun owners, reports Fox News . The Journal News in Westchester based the map on a FOIA request, and argues that some "residents would like... More »

Taxpayers Gave Romney $8.9M to Plan 'Transition'

New law provides candidates with resources whether they win or not

(Newser) - The federal government handed Mitt Romney's team millions of dollars to plan a presidential transition that never happened, Freedom of Information Act requests reveal. Romney was the first beneficiary of the Presidential Transition Act of 2010, which provides major party candidates with resources to plan their transitions mid-campaign, Time... More »

US Had Awlaki in Custody Twice, Let Him Go

Freedom of information request reveals 2nd time they had cleric

(Newser) - US authorities had Anwar al-Awlaki in custody twice and let him go both times, before eventually killing him in a targeted drone attack, conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch has discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request. Documents from the US embassy in Yemen indicate that the US-born radical cleric... More »

Revealed: Details of bin Laden's Burial

No sailors observed the burial: emails

(Newser) - Internal emails among US military officers shine a light on some details of Osama bin Laden's burial at sea. The heavily blacked out correspondence was released yesterday following a Freedom of Information Act by the AP . Among the revelations:
  • No sailors watched the burial occur
  • Traditional Islamic procedures were
... More »

Obama Cabinet's Transparency Grade: F

Bloomberg: 19 of 20 departments don't comply with 'FOIA' rules

(Newser) - While the Obama administration assails Mitt Romney for keeping his tax returns quiet, it seems the White House has some transparency flaws of its own. Entering office, President Obama called for "a new era of open government." Bloomberg put this to the test by requesting documents from agencies... More »

White House Hit by FOIA Request —for Beer Recipe

Most awesome FOIA request of all time? Possibly

(Newser) - Rarely has an FOIA request been used to uncover something so intoxicating: Beer lovers are asking the White House to release the recipe for its homebrew. President Obama told a voter last week that he travels with White House Honey Ale, then had a bottle brought out of his campaign... More »

Probe Uncovers $30M in Unreported GSA Bonuses

While another finds more 'questionable conferences'

(Newser) - A Washington-area TV station has uncovered $30 million in bonuses paid out in 2011 that the GSA neglected to mention in an earlier Freedom of Information Act request looking into its finances. In the May report, the Office of Personnel Management listed the GSA as paying a hair more than... More »

Treasury Officials Hired Prostitutes, Took Gifts

Inspector General report finds shenanigans at regulatory agencies

(Newser) - Treasury Department officials have been reprimanded for hiring prostitutes, golfing with the bankers they're supposed to be regulating, and taking improper gifts, according to inspector general reports spotted by the Hill that were published following Freedom of Information Act requests. Though the identities of all the perpetrators were redacted,... More »

Hollywood Got Inside Scoop on bin Laden Raid

Despite leak warnings, CIA, Pentagon and White House rolled out the red carpet

(Newser) - The White House, CIA, and Pentagon all gave special access to Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow to help with her movie about Osama bin Laden's death, according to documents obtained by the conservative Judicial Watch . In one interview , Undersecretary of Defense Mike Vickers tells Bigelow that top admirals can'... More »

CIA Can Keep Bay of Pigs Document Secret: Judge

Draft volume reportedly critical of the agency

(Newser) - The CIA doesn't need to reveal a probably-embarrassing Bay of Pigs investigative report to the public, a judge ruled yesterday, because it was never finalized. The National Security Archive, a private group promoting government transparency, had sued for the release of a volume entitled the "CIA's Internal... More »

Judge Blocks Release of bin Laden Death Photos

CIA, Pentagon had good reasons to keep images classified, he decides

(Newser) - A federal judge, saying he wasn't prepared to second-guess the Pentagon and CIA's reasoning in the matter, has rejected a request to order the release of photos and video taking during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden a year ago next week. The watchdog group Judicial Watch... More »

Romney Staff Wiped Records Before '08 Bid

Dems demand Massachusetts emails

(Newser) - Just before Mitt Romney left the Massachusetts governor's office and launched his previous bid for the presidency, 11 of his top aides took the unusual step of buying their state-issued hard drives, and the administration's emails were wiped from a server, the Boston Globe finds. The Democratic National... More »

US Fights to Keep bin Laden Death Photos Secret

Administration argues in court that they would endanger Americans abroad

(Newser) - The Obama administration filed court documents this week arguing that the 52 photographs and video recordings it has of Osama bin Laden's corpse are "wholly exempt from disclosure," and that it would not release them for fear of inspiring violence against Americans abroad. The filing is in... More »

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