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Obama/Holder DOJ on FOIA: We will just lie!


The Obama administration has done it again. Evidence exists that the Department of Justice has lied about the existence of various documents for years. However, the Obama administration attempted to make lying an actual codified policy. Proposed changes in DOJ policy, regarding Freedom of Information Requests, would have formally authorized the DOJ to lie about the existence of a document. Under the current rules, the DOJ can refuse to turn over documents but is not supposed to lie about their existence.

In certain cases, such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, the DOJ has refused to turn over documents even when Federal judges have ordered them too. These are cases were the documents would undoubtedly expose wrongdoing and.or incompetence at the department. Such as revealing the extant to which the FBI had informants and/or agent provocateurs in close contact with Timothy McVeigh. If Obama and Holder had gotten their way, the DOJ could simply lie about the existence of documents with impunity.

Holder, who is already facing possible multiple investigations for illegal activity conducted by his Department, backed off when Senators from his own party denounced the changes.

From DailyCaller…

The Department of Justice has canceled a controversial planned revision to Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) rules that opponents said would have allowed federal agencies to lie about the existence of records.

In a letter to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday, the DOJ wrote that the proposed rule “falls short” of its commitment to transparency, and it “will not include that provision when the Department issues final regulations.”

As part of larger revision of FOIA practices, the proposed rule would have allowed federal agencies to deny the existence of records when applying an exclusion, even if the records did exist.

Under current FOIA rules, federal law enforcement agencies can exclude records from disclosure when they are part of an ongoing criminal investigation or would compromise national security. Exclusions are different from the more common FOIA exemptions, which the new rule would not have applied to.

The DOJ has relied on a 1987 memo from then-Attorney General Edwin Meese that gave federal law enforcement agencies standing authority to deny the existence of records, but this would be the first time it was formally codified.

The proposal came under fire from transparency and open government watchdogs such as Judicial Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The groups argued it amounted to affirmative lying and would not give those requesting records the option to sue.

The proposal came under fire from members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, including Sen. Grassley, Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democrat Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Rep. Lamar Smith.

“The new proposed regulation stands in stark contrast to both the president’s and your prior statements about FOIA, transparency, and open government,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. “In fact, this policy directly contradicts your many statements, to me and other members of the Judiciary Committee, as part of your nomination hearing, that you support transparency of the executive branch.”

In response to the initial worries, the DOJ reopened the comment period for the rules revisions. And although it denies that the rule involved lying, it ultimately dropped the rule proposal.