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Freedom of Information Act

Senators Demand Fewer Secrets, New Transparency Standards

AP | LAURIE KELLMAN | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's new standards for government openness have not trickled down to some agencies, where officials have used special statutes slipped into bills to skirt the Freedom of Information Act, open government advocates said Wednesday.

Efforts to strengthen the 42-year-old law "have been hampered by the increasing use of legislative exemptions that are often sneaked into legislation without debate or public scrutiny," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said.

News organizations and media groups said new legislation was needed to limit the information agencies may keep secret and for how long.

"The secrecy reflex at some agencies remains firmly in place," said Tom Curley, president and chief executive of The Associated Press. And FOIA still contains relatively weak penalties for those that don't meet their disclosure obligations, he said.

"We appreciate the change in policy direction, but the change hasn't yet reached the street," said Curley, testifying on behalf of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media groups.

The Torture Report

Jameel Jaffer | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Jameel Jaffer

Five years after Abu Ghraib, the Defense Department is still withholding photographs showing prisoners being abused at other facilities, as well as interrogation directives used by special forces.

Walter Cronkite Records Destroyed By FBI

USA Today | Matt Kelley | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

A search of the agency's main index of the subjects of FBI investigations found some records tied to Cronkite's name were destroyed in October 2007, t...

Shahien Nasiripour

Decision On Disclosure Of Fed Loan Recipients Rests With Solicitor General Kagan, A Transparency Proponent | Shahien Nasiripour | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business

For over a year, the Federal Reserve has refused to publicly identify the companies that received over two trillion dollars through its emergency lend...

Fox News Appeals Ruling For Bailout Disclosure

Reuters | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

Fox News Network LLC on Wednesday appealed a U.S. judge's decision not to force the U.S. Federal Reserve to reveal the names of participants in its em...

Obama Administration Fabricates Small Business Contracting Data

Lloyd Chapman | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Lloyd Chapman

Under Obama, the same Fortune 500 firms that were allowed to receive small business contracts during the Bush Administration continue to receive federal small business contracts.

FBI File On Michael Jackson Is 600 Pages | Posted 05.25.2011 | Entertainment

When I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for any records they may have in their archive on Michael...

Bagram Isn't The New Guantanamo, It's The Old Guantanamo

Andy Worthington | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Andy Worthington

From what I have been able to gather about the workings of Bagram, I have no reason to conclude that the prison is now being run according to the Geneva Conventions.

Corporate Jet roup Tries To Block ProPublica Freedom Of Information Act Request

ProPublica | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

That got ProPublica interested in how many other companies had asked the FAA to excise their planes' tail numbers from records tracking private flight...

A Victory for Democracy and Open Government

Rep. Louise Slaughter | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Rep. Louise Slaughter

Thursday night we learned that a provision banning the release of prisoner abuse photos was dropped from the supplemental war spending bill.

Jeff Muskus

Lieberman, Graham Seek To Block Torture Photos At All Costs | Jeff Muskus | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics

With the war supplemental under fire from some unlikely allies in the House, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened Mond...

Obama and Transparency: Should He Release the Torture Photos?

John W. Whitehead | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
John W. Whitehead

Releasing new Abu-Ghraib photos will not aid the cause of justice or increase government transparency.

Obama to Offer Blindfolds and Ear Plugs to All Americans

Matthew Filipowicz | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Matthew Filipowicz

Until we take off our blindfolds, until we truly hold accountable those who authorized these heinous acts, we will continue to endanger not only ourselves, but our troops.

Danny Shea

Fox News Files Freedom Of Information Request With Department Of Homeland Security Over Right Wing Extremist Threat | Danny Shea | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

The Huffington Post has obtained a letter from Fox News to the Department of Homeland Security requesting they release the entire report on the right-...

Here We Go Again in Mexico

Murray Fromson | Posted 05.25.2011 | World
Murray Fromson

Until the widespread usage of drugs in the United States is curtailed sharply, there can be no realistic or substantive solution to the problem inside Mexico.

Shouldn't Be This Hard to Kill Bad Policy

Leslie Harris | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Leslie Harris

One of President Obama's first official acts in office was taking the power of the presidential pen and shredding the cloak of secrecy the Bush Admini...

Governor Quinn: Make Government Info Public

Associated Press | Posted 05.25.2011 | Chicago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Gov. Pat Quinn has some new instructions on releasing public information: Do it. Quinn sent a memo to state agencies Wednesday t...

Attorney General Madigan: Fine Governments That Withhold Public Documents

Associated Press | Posted 05.25.2011 | Chicago

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan wants to slap governments with up to a $1,000 fine for denying citizens the right to ...

Obama May Release Torture Documents Exposing Bush Administration Lawbreaking

Washington Independent | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics

This week, the Obama administration will face its second significant courtroom test of the president's pledges to end unwarranted secrecy about the wo...

Blackberry One: The World has Changed and We Must Change With it

Linda Stone | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Linda Stone

When I see Obama using his Blackberry, the message I get is, "I'm on the job. Right now. And I'm using today's tools."

Obama vs. the Media

John McQuaid | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media
John McQuaid

Obama (correctly, I think) sees the press representing two things that are clear obstacles to his ambitious plans: official Washington and a trivia-obsessed media culture.

Fox Business Network Sues Treasury Department

Huffington Post | Danny Shea | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media

Fox Business Network has filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department over "failure to provide information on the bailout funds or respond to FBN's...

Court Sets Back White House Efforts To Keep Visitors Secret

AP | PETE YOST | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday set back the White House's efforts to keep the names of its visitors secret. The three-member pa...

Master Media Manipulations and the Art of War(-selling)

Rachel Haimowitz | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media
Rachel Haimowitz

Tthe story of Obama's victory has and will continue to drown out all the other recent news. And boy, was there some big news made by Scott McClellan this week.