Tuesday, July 5, 2016

FOIA requests: chipping away at government's culture of secrets

Happy Independence Day! 

On Independence Day 50 years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson reluctantly signed into law the Freedom of Information Act. President Johnson thought it was terrible legislation and considered a veto after it was passed by Congress. He signed the bill into law on his Texas ranch instead of at a celebratory event at the White House.

Johnson’s comments at the low-key signing ceremony at the ranch illustrated his mixed feelings about the new law. “I signed this measure with a deep sense of pride that the United States is an open society,” he said. “I have always believed that freedom of information is so vital that only the national security, not the desire of public officials or private citizens, should determine when it must be restricted. At the same time, the welfare of the nation or the rights of individuals may require that some documents not be made available. As long as threats to peace exist, for example, there must be military secrets.”

Article here  (via aba journal).

As a side note: I use FOIA requests a lot - sometimes for police reports (depending on the police department, it may be required), utility companies, etc. It's fun! You have rights, protect them!

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