Bush Goes After FOIA

Remember that time the Office of Drug Control Policy told a student that it would take 200 years to file his FOIA request?

“Please note that the General Counsel is predisposed,” the letter read. “Consequently, we must enlarge to June 22, 2207 the time provided for his final determination.” (Or as Wonkette put it: “ODCP Promises to Get Back to You in the Far Future, If Man is Still Alive.”)

Okay, chances are it was a typo, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. government is not notoriously slow in responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. A recent overview of overdue FOIA requests by the National Security Archive found “at least four cases where the delay was for more than 15 years,” according to the Washington Post.

So, it was a good thing when legislation passed late last year titled the Open Government Act of 2007, which decreed that government agencies that receive FOIA requests must provide requested information in 20 days or less, or else pay a fine. Right? And it was a good thing to create an ombudsman position to monitor things and ensure that the law is followed. Right?

Not if you’re President Bush.

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