Once Again, The Freedom Of Information Act Is Proving To Be Just That: An Act

from the freedom's-just-another-word-for-[REDACTED] dept

Once the word got out that a photo had been taken of Osama Bin Laden, for identification purposes, everyone and their journalistic mother filed a FOIA request to see the pictures. And as has sadly become par for the course, these requests are being stonewalled by the administration, which has apparently learned nothing from the DHS vs. "activist groups" debacle.

Sadly, this is no ordinary stonewalling. In direct violation of the FOIA terms, it looks as if these requests are being handled by Robert Gates and his staff, rather than the non-partisan FOIA employees who are supposed to be handling them, according to this official response from the Department of Defense:
The Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff FOIA Office is responding on behalf of the entire Department of Defense to all FOIA requests within the DoD for information related to the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Therefore, they will respond directly to you concerning the FOIA request that you sent us. 
The wording of this response certainly suggests that these OBL requests are being handled higher up, as non-partisan employees would be hard pressed to satisfy the requirements of their job and the administration's desire to keep the photos classified. Fortunately for them, their responsibility seems to have been relieved by an appointed member of President Obama's staff and the spectre of "threat to national security" duly summoned in order to wave off any inconvenient demands.

Of course, should this "threatening" photo ever make it out of its governmental quarantine, it will probably end up being 3/4 redacted and 1/4 thumb. Even so, would it kill these agencies to at least pretend they care about the rules that are supposed to govern their actions, much less the transparency that was promised so often over the past few years.

Filed Under: defense department, foia, freedom of information, homeland security

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Exactly. Obviously these "non-partisan employees" do not designate what is classified and what is not. That decision is made elsewhere.

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