freedom of information



(First In A Series On Freedom of Information At Hilary Clinton's State Department)


J. Michael Springmann

The U.S. Department of State evidently believes that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act (PA), laws passed in the aftermath of Richard Nixon's Watergate. It fiercely fights the public's attempts to learn about waste, fraud, corruption, mismanagement, and abuse of authority amongst America's diplomats. This is particularly bad for a U.S. government agency, but worse for State since the Director of its FOIA office is Margaret Grafeld, who works for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). That's the organization which, until comparatively recently, didn't have a sign outside its Langley, Va. headquarters and still does not provide anything more than a zip code for a mailing address.

Judge: White House can ignore e-mail information requests

Judge: White House can ignore e-mail information requests By Timothy B. Lee Ars Technica June 16, 2008

"A federal judge today sided with the Bush administration in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit related to missing White House e-mails. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly... held that the White House's Office of Administration was not a federal agency as that term is defined by the FOIA and was therefore not obligated to respond to FOIA requests."

"CREW [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] was seeking internal documents that could reveal the extent of the missing e-mail problem. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration has been reluctant to release those potentially embarrassing records. Indeed, after more than a quarter-century of complying with FOIA requests, last year the Office of Administration announced that it had re-considered its status under FOIA and would no longer comply with FOIA requests."