Massachusetts agencies increasingly cite terrorism risk to withhold records

The state agriculture department refused to release a list of dairy farmers.

Chicopee withheld the budget for its SWAT team.

Massachusetts State Police wouldn’t say how much they spent in salaries to operate each station.

All the denials had one thing in common: Agencies cited an exemption to the Massachusetts public records law that was enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to keep building blueprints and other sensitive documents out of the hands of terrorists. The exemption allows agencies to withhold certain documents if, in the reasonable judgment of the records holder, the disclosure is “likely to jeopardize public safety or cyber security.”