Requesting the CIA to declassify secret records will now cost you $72 an hour. The CIA announced the new hourly rate last September without advance notice or opportunity for comment from the public. At least 30 civil society organizations took exception to this move and have now filed suit to void the policy. [Federal Times]

Anaheim is charging a record requester $19,000 to restore emails that the city illegally deleted. Really? According to Voice of OC, that’s exactly what their doing. According to Voice of OC, managers of the Planning Department ordered employees to purge certain publics records in violation of record retention requirements. The purging came to light, and now a public records request has been submitted seeking copies of the deleted records. Anaheim is citing a provision in California’s public records law that allows them to charge for data compilation and extraction. In this case, that’s going to run about $19,000. Why do the emails need to be extracted again? [Voice of OC]


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Has the Obama Administration effected real change in FOIA responsiveness? A recent Associated Press article, claims that the federal Freedom of Information Act is unwieldy and difficult, and that only the most patient and persistent requesters actually obtain the sought-for information. The article is critical of agencies’ efforts in implementing President Obama’s promise to make government more open and release more information rapidly.

During an event sponsored for Sunshine Week, March 13-19, reported in the AP article, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli is quoted as stating that more records are going out unredacted than ever before. “Where we once might have looked at a document, noticed a piece that could be released, and redacted the rest, we’re now more often determining that we can release the whole thing,” Perrelli is quoted as saying. However, a witness before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch, stated that the conservative watchdog group has “filed 44 lawsuits to force the Obama administration to comply with the law.”


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Update 6/6

As reported by the Huffington Post, President Obama has now included a provision in a war-funding bill that would protect the detainee abuse photos from disclosure.

Update 6/2

McLatchy Reports: “Why’d Obama switch on detainee photos? Maliki went ballistic.”  While fear of foreign uprisings may not be an exemption under FOIA, maybe it should be.


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