Thursday, October 27, 2011

FOIA games: Liar government

Proving just how Orwellian President Obama's "transparency" talk really is, his Justice Department wants to codify a repulsive existing practice that allows federal agencies to deny Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by falsely claiming that documents that do exist don't.

Genuine government transparency is fundamental to all Americans, which is why this twisted take on transparency has struck nerves across the political spectrum. Both the liberal ACLU and the conservative Judicial Watch oppose the warped proposal.

Justice already can legitimately deny FOIA requests to protect information about ongoing investigations. But falsely claiming documents don't exist would discourage FOIA filers -- who'd have no way to know such claims were false -- from suing over rejected requests.

Yet court challenges will be Americans' best hope for ultimately derailing this attempt at disingenuous deception, should Justice implement it. Bolstering that hope, The Daily Caller reports, is a federal judge's ruling in a case involving FBI records: "Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the court."

Government must not "affirmatively mislead" the American people, either. Justice's bid to do so reveals Obama administration "transparency" as the travesty it is. If not much more.

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