Have you seen the new proposed government disclosure disclaimer?

Earlier today, thanks to HotAir Headlines, I came across the following:

Justice Dept. proposes lying, hiding existence of records under new FOIA rule 
By C.J. Ciaramella
11:50 PM 10/24/2011

A proposed revision to Freedom of Information Act rules would allow federal agencies to lie to citizens and reporters seeking certain records, telling them the records don’t exist.

The Justice Department has proposed the change as part of a large revision of FOIA rules for federal agencies. Specifically, the rule would direct government agencies who are denying a request under an established FOIA exemption to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist,” rather than citing the relevant exemption.

The proposed rule has alarmed government transparency advocates across the political spectrum, who’ve called it “Orwellian” and say it will “twist” public access to government.

Apparently this did not come as much of a surprise to Flight Lead FASTFAC as is indicated by his reply to my email broadcast:

I would be more concerned if I didn’t suspect the Fed Govt had been lying and “Glomaring” for years and years. My real question is what would be the purpose for broadcasting to the world that you were revising the Freedom of Information Act to tell the world you are (usually) lying? What we need is a disclaimer on all public comments from elected officials that simply states, “The information you are receiving may or not be factual and any comments regarding the veracity of the information might be the same!” 

That should work for the most part. But I would also include more than just “elected” officials. After all, Attorney General Eric Holder is an “appointed” official and, as chief law enforcement officer in the U.S., he’s the one actually making this suggestion. Impeachment, anyone? Or is that a bit too harsh?

I am, however, surprised by the reaction of the ACLU, who lamented:

In a public comment regarding the rule change, the ACLU, along with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and OpenTheGovernment.org, said the move “will dramatically undermine government integrity by allowing a law designed to provide public access to government information to be twisted to permit federal law enforcement agencies to actively lie to the American people.” 

. . . the move “will dramatically undermine government integrity. . .”? Is the ACLU now writing for the Daily Show? Who are they trying to kid?

Any comment, Mr. Stewart?

Of course, this sort of thing is no more than a restatement of the Bureaucratic Prime Directive. In its most common vernacular form that’s: “You’re never wrong if you follow procedure.”


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