The U.S. Justice Department is withdrawing a controversial new rule regarding FOIA ( Freedom of information Act) requests in which the DOJ wanted to just deny the existence of requested documents instead of complying with the requests for government information as per the FOIA.
The FOIA is the law that gives all U.S. citizens the right to access information from the federal government. The problem with the new “rule change” announced by the DOJ that stirred up this controversy is the fact that Barack Obama has stated on numerous occasions that the U.S government under his watch would be the most open and transparent in history. This new DOJ rule that basically allows them to lie to American citizens who submit FOIA requests for information and say that it simply does not exist, flies in the face of “the most open and transparent administration in history” statements.
In a marvelous display of representing the people who elected him, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to DOJ Chief Eric Holder in which he asked 15 pointed questions about the proposed regulations to be answered by Nov. 7th. If the DOJ still decided to go forward with the new regulations, Grassley said he would propose legislation to prevent the regulations from ever taking effect. The date of Nov. 7th was important, as Holder is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 8th. Considering that the DOJ is currently embroiled in the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal, Holder apparently did not want to also have to answer questions on the FOIA regulation, and so he backed off and pulled that part of the new regulation.
Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas is also to be commended for his taking a stand against Holder’s attempt to deny FOIA requests by telling the lie that they do not exist when they actually do,in his statement in another letter to the DOJ. “The rule appears to contradict both transparency principles fundamental to a functioning democracy and the president’s commitment to make ‘his administration the most open and transparent in history.’ The department should explain why it believes answering truthfully along the lines of ‘we can neither confirm nor deny records exist’ has proven to be inadequate to protect sensitive information,” Smith wrote in his letter.
In a perfect example of how disgustingly hypocritical and dis-ingenious the DOJ has become recently under Holder, spokesperson Melanie Pustay tried to cover up the attempt to lie to the citizenry by saying the documents do not exist, while breaking the FOIA laws by saying, “Our goal is to be as open and transparent as possible about the existence of exclusions and the process for invoking them while at the same time protecting the sensitive law enforcement and national security matters covered by the exclusions,” Only in Washington D.C. can someone attempt to deny lawful information requests by lying and saying they do not exist, and then try to justify it by saying their “Goal is to be as open and honest as possible.”
2012 just can’t get here fast enough!