October 24, 2011

FOIA rule proposal could hide government records

ProPublica reports that a proposed rule change to the Freedom of Information Act could allow federal agencies to tell requesters of certain national security or law enforcement documents that the records don't exist ... even if they do exist.

Essentially, if the rule change is passed, government officials would be legally allowed to lie to the public.

Currently, FOIA rules allow government agencies to use the "Glomar denial" when withholding records, meaning they can tell a requester that they "cannot confirm nor deny the existence of the records."

The rule change was proposed by the Department of Justice and was originally published in March, but comment submission was re-opened last month.