Effort afoot to subvert FOIA concept

Apparently, some in power don’t fully comprehend the concept behind the Freedom of Information Act.

The investigative website ProPublica recently reported that a proposed rule to the federal Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist even when they do.

Under current FOIA practice, the government may withhold information and issue what’s known as a Glomar denial that says it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of records, according to ProPublica.

The new proposal – part of a rule revision by the Department of Justice – would direct government agencies to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist.”

Not surprisingly, the proposal isn’t sitting well with some.

“We don’t believe the statute allows the government to lie to FOIA requesters,” said Mike German, senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the provision.

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