So much for the “most transparent administration ever!” They aren’t cool with all of the Freedom of Information Act requests they’ve been getting, so they want a new law passed that would give them a license to lie.
A longtime internal policy that allowed Justice Department officials to deny the existence of sensitive information could become the law of the land — in effect a license to lie — if a newly proposed rule becomes federal regulation in the coming weeks.
The proposed rule directs federal law enforcement agencies, after personnel have determined that documents are too delicate to be released, to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests “as if the excluded records did not exist.”
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, says the move appears to be in direct conflict with the administration’s promise to be more open.
“Despite all the talk of transparency, I can’t think of what’s less transparent than saying a document does not exist, when in fact, it does,” Sekulow told Fox News.
Earlier this year, in a case involving the Islamic Council of Southern California brought against the FBI after the plaintiffs learned about the existence of documents denied by the FBI, a federal judge in California expressed great concern about the agency using the internal policy not only in response to the FOIA but to mislead the court.
“The government, cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the court. … The court simply cannot perform its constitutional function if the government does not tell the truth,” the judge wrote in a stinging rebuke.
A final version of the proposal could be issued by the end of 2011. If approved, the new rule would officially become a federal regulation with the force of law. (Read More)