by David Phinney
Friday March 1st 2024



It’s in the Mail (Yeah, Sure)

When posed with a question that’s off the daily script or unrelated to a planned press event, government public affairs people sometimes put reporters on the “slow roll.” Frequently that means that they don’t have a clue about how to answer a question or that the person who knows the answer would prefer not share it. (The real payoff for a cynical bureaucrat is if the reporter gets distracted by another story long enough for everyone to forget about it.)
FOIA requests can invite the same treatment: How else to explain MY three-dozen unfulfilled Freedom of Information Act requests sent to the Pentagon and elsewhere over two years ago when it allegedly takes just 20 working days to deliver the goods?
In fact, I hear that one request of mine is one of the top ten oldest requests around. It is a request for information on the food contractor at Abu Ghraib that screwed up so badly that prisoners started rioting en mass. Do doubt, the request being passed from desk to desk is now crawling with worms and is as rancid as the food the contractor was serving. (And the FOIA is sort of important. The food riots led to the crackdown in security that led to the torture that led to….well, lots of things.)
I’M NOT ALONE IN THE WAITING GAME…. (But darling, I have moved on):

New research by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government shows that the government’s overall FOIA performance remains at the lowest point since agency reporting began in 1998, despite President Bush’s executive order last December [2005] directing agencies to become more service oriented and reform legislation introduced in the Congress

Here’s the report: The Waiting Game: FOIA Performance Hits New Lows.


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