New Bush Executive Order on FOIA Aims to Improve Government Responsiveness; Impact on Transparency Unclear
Thomas S. Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive responded to the new Executive Order by stating, "After five years of throwing sand into the gears of the FOIA, the Bush administration is finally designating someone at the agencies to be responsible for compliance and performance. Now the question is: Will they have the determination and the authority to implement any real changes in the current ailing FOIA system?"
Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs noted, "Up until now this administration has strongly resisted transparency and accountability. We can only hope that this is a sign that it intends to start being more responsive to the public."
The National Security Archive has extensively audited the performance of the FOIA during the Bush administration and published detailed reports on the depth of FOIA backlogs pending at major federal agencies and the impact of Attorney General John Ashcroft's October 2001 memo on the FOIA. The Archive found a system plagued by delay, inefficiency and functioning in large part without high level official support for the work of government FOIA personnel.
"We are hopeful this Executive Order will lead to greater concern from senior agency officials for the FOIA. It remains uncertain how it will be implemented and whether any actual processing changes will result. One wonders if the administration is just trying to preempt the growing bipartisan movement to strengthen the FOIA by issuing a potentially weak Executive Order," commented Barbara Elias, the Archive's freedom of information coordinator.
comments powered by Disqus
- Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible
- Parsing Ronald Reagan’s Words for Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
- Here's a look at history of 'religious freedom' laws
- ‘Hamilton’ Puts Politics Onstage and Politicians in Attendance
- Earth Tectonic Plate Simulation Reveals Our Planet Has Changed A Lot In 200 Million Years
- Historians make it easy for visitors to DC to understand the history of the Mall
- History's Grandin Wins Bancroft Prize for "The Empire of Necessity"
- Nobel prize-winning scientist writes a history of science
- Ken Burns tackles history of cancer
- If historians have their way, Americans will soon learn how important religion has been in US history