FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit

October 29, 2014 11:49 AM

The federal government's disability fund is set to run a $75 billion cash-flow deficit this year, and the program's own judges are reportedly responsible for running it into the ground. Congressional reports have highlighted allegations of disability judges' rubber-stamping cases, snoozing on the job, sexually harassing colleagues, and colluding with corrupt lawyers - but the Social Security Administration continues to be more concerned with shielding questionable judges from much-needed scrutiny that it is with protecting the disability fund's financial integrity.

In August, on behalf of National Review Online and the Franklin Center, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the SSA, asking for correspondence that could potentially reveal misconduct, conflict of interests, or other worrisome, illegal, or unethical behavior on the part of some of the top rubber-stamping disability judges identified by the House Oversight Committee. But the SSA refused to offer even the most minimal response, telling me it 'can neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records.'

The SSA's justifications for this nonresponse are quite simply hogwash, and we're fighting back, submitting an appeal today, as we attempt to investigate this issue affecting millions of Americans, and billions of dollars. Continue>>>

November 20, 2012 10:48 AM

From CNET News:

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' email privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' email, is scheduled for next week.


Marc Rotenberg, head of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said that in light of the revelations about how former CIA director David Petraeus' email was perused by the FBI, "even the Department of Justice should concede that there's a need for more judicial oversight," not less.

November 14, 2012 9:18 AM

From Air Force Times:

The Air Force is changing the rules on how the media and general public get information about airmen accused of crimes.

A recent Air Force Instruction lists several changes to how the service applies the Uniform Code of Military Justice that are intended to protect the privacy of accused airmen at the expense of the public’s right to know.

The Air Force Instruction appears to curtail the public’s access to criminal records.

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