by Kathleen McKinley | March 28, 2011 3:22 pm
This should make everyone angry. The AP reported that political operatives in the Obama Administration are screening Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and asking for personal information on those making the requests:
From the WaPo:
The Freedom of Information Act, the main tool forcing the government to be more transparent, is designed to be insulated from political considerations. Anyone who seeks information through the law is supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose confidential decision-making in certain areas. People can request government records without specifying why they want them and are not obligated to provide personal information about themselves other than their name and an address where the records should be sent.
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But at the Homeland Security Department, since July 2009, career employees were ordered to provide political staffers with information about the people who asked for records — such as where they lived and whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked. If a member of Congress sought such documents, employees were told to specify Democrat or Republican. No one in government was allowed to discuss the political reviews with anyone whose information request was affected by them.
This statement just released by our own Senator John Cornyn:
“Citizens have a fundamental right to know what their government is doing and political operatives should not be interfering with legitimate requests by citizens and journalists under the Freedom of Information Act. I am deeply disturbed that Obama Administration political operatives filtered FOIA requests based on the political or professional affiliation of those requesting the transparency guaranteed to our citizens under federal law. And I commend the House panel for doing its job of oversight of the executive branch, and I hope they get to the bottom of these allegations.”
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