Fixing FOIA: Justice proposal yet again shows FOIA needs leadership

A current, completely avoidable squabble arose this week over how the Justice Department should word responses that could reveal the existence of an investigation.  This dispute again shows the FOIA needs more attention and forceful leadership to resolve persistent problems and make the FOIA process work better. Here’s the current quandary:  How should the Justice Department respond to FOIA requests without tipping off suspects who are targets of secret criminal investigations?  Individuals or private entities trying to confirm whether they are subject to an investigation turn to FOIA as a convenient tool.  They file requests for documents hoping the government’s response [More]

More images of wrongdoing

The military appears ready to recycle arguments from last year, that photographic evidence of wartime abuses by American soldiers poses a threat to national security, the military, or both. An Army commander is imposing strict limits on photographs in connection with the deaths of three Afghan civilians earlier this year. Descriptions of the photographs and some of the military’s rationales for secrecy in this case are reminiscent of previous photographs and justifications: The pictures in question show “three dead Afghans with three different Soldiers posing, holding up the decedent’s head. (Each photo was one Afghan, one Soldier),” according to an [More]