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Attorney General's Report Ignores Serious
Problems in Agency FOIA Programs

National Security Archive Calls for Congressional Oversight

For more information contact:
Meredith Fuchs/Catherine Nielsen - 202/994-7000

National Security Archive FOIA page

Washington DC, October 19, 2006 - Today the National Security Archive responded to the "Attorney General's Report to the President Pursuant to Executive Order 13,392, Entitled 'Improving Agency Disclosure of Information'" by providing the Attorney General and Congress an assessment of some of the serious challenges not acknowledged in the Report and calling for congressional oversight hearings to make optimistic FOIA processing goals a reality.

The Attorney General's Report in rosy terms lauds the Executive Order as "a strong step in improving the government-wide administration of a law that is of widespread interest and concern." Yet the Report is merely an overview of 91 individual FOIA improvement plans drafted by federal agencies. It fails to acknowledge that many of the admirable goals set by the agencies can only be met with an increased commitment of resources -- which the Executive Order makes clear is not being considered by the Administration. Further, many of the most intractable interagency problems, such as the sending of FOIA requests to other agencies on referral or for consultation, are not addressed at all, thus highlighting the absence of any cross-agency authority over FOIA policy matters.

In separate letters to key members of the two principal congressional committees with oversight responsibility for FOIA, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Government Reform Committee, the National Security Archive details some of the serious deficiencies acknowledged in the agencies' individual FOIA improvement plans - including the lack of basic technology such as copiers and Internet access and the failure of many agencies to satisfy the terms of the 1996 E-FOIA Amendments. The Archive calls on Congress to hold hearings that would determine whether any genuine progress is being made in the administration of FOIA.


Documents
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"Attorney General's Report to the President Pursuant to Executive Order 13,392, Entitled 'Improving Agency Disclosure of Information,'" October 16, 2006

National Security Archive Letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, October 19, 2006

National Security Archive Letter to Rep. Tom Davis, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Rep. Todd Platts, Rep. Christopher Shays, House Committee on Government Reform, October 19, 2006

National Security Archive Letter to Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator John Cornyn, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, October 19, 2006

 

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