FOIA turns 46 this Fourth of July

From our friends at

This 4th of July marks the 46th anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). FOIA is a bedrock law of democracy: it allows citizens to find out what the government is doing, and to hold officials accountable for their actions. In just the last year, people have used records handed over as a result of a FOIA request to shed light on the the Federal Bureau of Investigation's secret surveillance lettersthe government's actions leading up to and as a result of the 9/11 attackswords the Department of Homeland Security monitors on social media sitesmisleading information in the FBI's 'domestic terrorism' training material on activists, and countless other important issues.

But as we honor FOIA's past, we want to also share some thoughts on FOIA's future.

From Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a statement he made June 27 to mark the upcoming 46th anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information, posted by

On July 4, the nation will celebrate the 46th anniversary of the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The “right to know” is a cornerstone of our democracy. For five decades, Americans have counted on FOIA to help shed light on the activities of their government.

While … FOIA accomplishments give us good reasons to celebrate, many other threats to the public’s right to access information under FOIA remain. In the coming weeks, the Senate is expected to consider several legislative exemptions to FOIA in relation to cybersecurity legislation. As this legislative process unfolds, I intend to work with members on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the American public’s ability to access information about threats to their health and safety in cyberspace is protected.