Skip to comments.Political Vetting of FOIA Requests Assailed/Defended
Posted on 04/04/2011 9:20:40 AM PDT by John Semmens
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Representative Darrell Issas (R-Calif) complaint that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is injecting political bias into the process of responding to freedom of information requests was dismissed as sour grapes by Representative Gerald Connelly (D-Va).
Inasmuch as representative Issa himself has characterized DHS actions as Nixonian I cant see what his beef is, Connelly argued. Nixon was a Republican President. Now the shoe is on the other foot. So what?
Using a political compass to guide the agencys response to requests for public documents is unlawful, Issa asserted. The fact that a previous president also engaged in unlawful behavior is not a valid defense of the current Administrations practices.
Notwithstanding former President Nixons abuses, a report from DHS Acting Inspector General Charles Edwards called the agencys political vetting of requests unprecedented involvement in the Freedom of Information Act process. Not only were requests handled in a discriminatory manner, but responses were often edited to black-out content that would potentially be embarrassing to the Administration.
John Verdi, director of open government for the watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center, contends that DHS has gone farther than any other agency in the Obama Administration in corrupting the process by inserting an illegal political bias into its handling of external requests for information.
Didn’t Issa want to track FOIA requests by name?