Freedom of Information Act

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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 »

Man Demands Town Reveal Zombie Invasion Plans

City council has yet to respond to Freedom of Information Act request

(Newser) - A man in Leicester, England, has submitted a vital Freedom of Information Act request to the city council. “Can you please let us know what provisions you have in place in the event of a zombie invasion?” Robert Ainsley asked, according to the Telegraph . “Having watched several films... More »

Foreign Banks Got Majority of Secret Fed Loans

Court forces Fed to release info

(Newser) - When the Federal Reserve opened its “discount window” at the height of the financial crisis, a lot of foreign banks lined up. The 97-year-old program hit an all-time high during October 2008, and during its peak week, 70% of the $110.7 billion doled out went to foreign banks,... More »

Homeland Security Hiding Its Emails: Insiders

Employees concerned over lengthy vetting process for internal records

(Newser) - Homeland Security insiders spent months complaining that top Obama appointees were improperly delaying the release of potentially embarrassing files sought under the Freedom of Information Act. In a raft of uncensored emails obtained by the AP , insiders called the vetting process “meddling," "crazy" and "bananas!”... More »

Supreme Court to the Fed: Release Dirt on '08 Crisis Loans

Banks sought to block details from media

(Newser) - The Federal Reserve will release information on several emergency loans it made to prominent banks when the financial crisis struck in 2008, CNNMoney reports. Bloomberg News initially filed a lawsuit against the Fed in an attempt to gain details on the loans; the Fed declined the request due to "... More »

New Loughner Mugshots Out

Lawyers had sought to block them

(Newser) - Jared Lee Loughner's second set of mugshot photos—shot by US marshals when he was taken into federal custody—have been released, despite his lawyers' best efforts. He's still smirking, though not as broadly as in the widely distributed mugshot taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Office, and sports an... More »

ACLU: Feds Covered Up Role in Torture of US Citizen

Lawsuit tries to force CIA, FBI to come clean

(Newser) - The ACLU is suing the federal government for ignoring its Freedom of Information Act inquiry into the detention and torture of an American citizen overseas. Naji Hamdan, who spent 20 years in California before moving to the United Arab Emirates in 2006, was arrested in August 2008 and, according to... More »

22M 'Missing' Bush-Era Emails Reappear

Data won't be public for years, but may shed light on Iraq, Plame

(Newser) - Twenty-two million emails that the Bush administration had given up as lost have been found. Computer experts working for two advocacy groups that sued the executive branch in 2007 for not properly archiving its emails announced the messages were in fact mislabeled. The messages must be vetted before they can... More »

'Complacency' Faulted in US Nuke Sub Crash

'Weak' command, lax standards prevailed aboard USS Hartford

(Newser) - US Navy investigators are pinning blame for the March collision between a nuclear-powered submarine and another Navy ship on lax atmosphere and “weak” command aboard the USS Hartford, where sailors slept while they were supposed to be on watch, and the radio room was rigged up with music speakers.... More »

Top Wall Street Execs Have Direct Line to Geithner

Treasury chief's calendars show frequent contact with big players

(Newser) - A look at Timothy Geithner's phone calendars show the Treasury secretary has maintained close ties with Wall Street executives he has known for years. Executives at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Citigroup can reach the nation's most powerful economic official at will. While there's nothing inherently wrong with keeping tabs on... More »

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