The State Department has been dismissing about half of the press requests it receives for information under open government laws – a pattern of rejection that members of the Senate Judiciary Committee described on Wednesday as unacceptable and embarrassing.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, ranking member of the committee, said the State Department has repeatedly failed to respect the country’s open government laws, like the Freedom of Information Act, more commonly known as FOIA. Reporters often use FOIA requests to make public previously unknown information about federal agencies. The State Department is one of many agencies obligated to comply with open government laws and yet its refusal to relinquish that information has forced The Associated Press to file a lawsuit against the department in March.
“This is unacceptable,” the Vermont Democrat said during a Wednesday congressional hearing on open government issues. “While I recognize that the number of FOIA requests has increased over the years and that the requests can be complex, this is not a reason to fall down on the job.” Continue>>>