December 19, 2007
The top-notch finders of lost things – the National Security Archive – reports that both House and Senate have passed a bill that will improve the Freedom of Information Act.
The new law would mandate tracking numbers for FOIA requests that take longer than 10 days to process to ensure they will no longer fall through the cracks, require agencies to report more accurately to Congress and the public on their FOIA programs, create a new ombuds office at the National Archives to mediate conflicts between agencies and requesters, clarify the purpose of FOIA to encourage dissemination of government information, and provide incentives to agencies to avoid litigation and processing delays.
It may even be veto-proof. Time to let some sunshine in!
And in case you need to get some information – here’s a handy-dandy FOIA letter generator from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
November 6, 2007
We always knew what the administration thought of Congress. Now Congress has documented its contempt, meticulously, in a report from the House Committee on the Judiciary. The document supports the resolution to declare administration officials in contempt of Congress for not providing documents and testimony on the firing of federal prosecutors. If you like political thrillers, give it a read. But think twice before you hit “print” – it’s 862 pages long!
The chair of the committee has given the White House one last chance to cooperate, but the administration continues to baulk at going on record. That’s business as usual – ain’t no sunshine till he’s gone.
October 5, 2007
The New York Times tells us when the administration said “read my lips, no new torture” they were just kidding. In fact, behind the scenes they were writing additional memos explaining how to torture and get away with it. (Naturally they’re classified, so by definition exempt from oversight.) One of the weird things that struck me reading this story is to realize the extent to which the questions raised by interrogators were not “should I do this?” or “is this going to work?” Just “how far can I go without putting myself in legal jeopardy?” The banality of it all.
Though is anything surprising anymore? My outrage-o-meter broke due to overuse several years ago, and they don’t make them anymore. But it still makes me sad and angry to see such total contempt for court, for congress, and for the constitution. This is an administration that seems to think crossing your fingers behind your back makes it okay. Isn’t that what those signing statements are? “This is now the law of the land; I give myself full authority to ignore it.” I guess when Bush took his oath of office, he had his fingers crossed. Protect and defend the constitution? Sure, why not. Hehe.
It’s not just that this behavior mocks the constitution (of which, silly me, I’m fond); it’s contemptuous of reason, of the enlightenment, of language, of meaning itself.
More fallout today.