FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Vox argues that government officials' email should be private; Frequent FOIA requesters respond

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

Against transparency

Government officials' email should be private, just like their phone calls.

By Matthew Yglesias, Vox, Sept. 6, 2016

“Can I give you a call?”

It’s the worst possible reply to an email, but one I receive all too often in the course of reporting. Phone calls are journalistically indispensable when you want to conduct an extended interview, but for a routine query or point of clarification, email is much, much better.

Besides which, like any self-respecting person born in the 1980s I hate phone calls.

The issue is that administration officials and other executive branch aides don’t want to leave a record of the conversation that might come to light one day. Not necessarily because they have anything scandalous to say. After all, we live in a world where something as banal as Doug Band, a top Clinton Foundation aide, asking Huma Abedin, a top State Department aide, for a special diplomatic passport for a hostage rescue trip to North Korea and being told he can’t have one can be spun as a scandal by a determined team of reporters and editors.

Read more here.

Response to the article from frequent FOIA requesters: