FOIA Advisor

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FOIA News: Coalition Urges Congress to Reject New FOIA Exemption

FOIA News (2017)Kevin SchmidtComment

From the letter:

On behalf of the undersigned groups, we urge you to oppose the inclusion of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) proposal to alter the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in FY 2018’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Pentagon’s proposed language1 would undermine the FOIA, creating an unnecessary and overbroad secrecy provision at odds with FOIA’s goal of transparency and accountability to the public. The DoD’s proposal to exempt from disclosure “information on military tactics, techniques, and procedures, and of military rules of engagements,” would create a carve-out to the FOIA for much of the information and documents created by the Pentagon, the largest executive branch agency with the largest discretionary budget.

While we acknowledge that this exemption language is narrower than the two previous proposals by DoD, the provision remains unnecessary to protect the effectiveness of military operations. These fundamental changes to FOIA were proposed without the robust consideration and input of the committees of jurisdiction over FOIA and FOIA-related issues. Because of their potential long-lasting effects on the public’s access to information, we urge you to reject this proposal.

Read the full letter here.

Signatories:

  • ACORN8
  • American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Society of News Editors
  • American Library Association
  • Association of Alternative Newsmedia
  • Association of Research Libraries
  • Campaign for Liberty
  • Cause of Action Institute
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
  • Defending Rights & Dissent
  • Downsize DC
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Freedom Works
  • Government Accountability Project
  • Government Information Watch
  • Human Rights First
  • Iraq Veterans Against the War
  • Liberty Coalition
  • National Security Archives
  • National Taxpayers Union
  • OpenTheGovernment
  • Peace Action
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Project On Government Oversight
  • Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  • Society of Professional Journalists
  • Sunlight Foundation
  • Taxpayer Protection Alliance
  • Washington Office on Latin America