The Freedom of Information Act—and the Hero Who Pioneered It

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) turns 50 years old on July 4, 2016. The landmark bill, signed into law by a reluctant Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, gave the public unprecedented access to government documents. Like many great American contributions to democracy, it was the project of a lone crusader, opposed by the leading politicians of the day until it finally became law, then fully embraced on paper but never more than half-realized in reality.