Friday, March 20, 2009

The Freedom Is Back In FOIA

President Obama and AG Holder have made it clear that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is once again for real.

In a memorandum sent to all administrative agencies AG Holder said:
A Presumption of Openness

As President Obama instructed in his January 21 FOIA Memorandum, "The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." This presumption has two important implications.

First, an agency should not withhold information simply because it may do so legally. I strongly encourage agencies to make discretionary disclosures of information. An agency should not withhold records merely because it can demonstrate, as a technical matter, that the records fall within the scope of a FOIA exemption.

Second, whenever an agency determines that it cannot make full disclosure of a requested record, it must consider whether it can make partial disclosure. Agencies should always be mindful that the FOIA requires them to take reasonable steps to segregate and release nonexempt information. Even if some parts of a record must be withheld, other parts either may not be covered by a statutory exemption, or may be covered only in a technical sense unrelated to the actual impact of disclosure.
(DOJ Website, Holder Memo, PDF). Ladies and gentlemen, start your inquiries.


  1. Oh, boy. This is a birthday present I had not seen yet. My birthday is Jan. 21st. It was the very best birthday of my life (of 50 something years) entirely because Obama won the election and Jan. 21st was his first full day as President of the United States of America. I am still celebrating. I celebrate his inauguration every day now, without fail. I will be eternally grateful to my fellow Americans for not letting the republican propaganda machine fool voters again. Hip hip hurray!

    The sadder but wiser voter for me, thank you! It is always best to know the truth than to remain ignorant and powerless over propaganda!
    Even when the truth is sad, we must forge forward to right the wrongs that only the truth reveals.

  2. 4 avid music lovers, Indeed . . . unfortunatly there is much work to do to make this a more perfect union!