As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released earlier this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information.
This is spooky: A group of journalism students from the City University of New York filed a Freedom of Information request and discovered that the FBI tracked the late Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam for more than two decades.
In an apparent effort to keep the estimated 5 million missing White House e-mails missing, the Justice Department is claiming that the White House Office of Administration, which handles IT support for the executive branch, is not covered by freedom-of-information law. Press-freedom advocate Lucy Dalglish notices a trend: “When they don’t want to comply with the law, they just shamelessly argue they are not subject to the law.”
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in 1966, and has proved to be an indispensable tool for our democracy, but negotiating the bureaucracy can be intimidating. Luckily, the Bad Guys blog has collected a helpful assortment of FOIA resources. Check it out and find out what your government is up to.