Return to Clinton FOIA policy: Federal data to be released unless harm foreseen

Breaking News

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is telling federal agencies to release their records and information to the public unless foreseeable harm would result.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines fleshing out President Barack Obama's Jan. 21 order to reveal more government records to the public under the Freedom of Information Act in cases where release isn't specifically barred by another law.

The new standard essentially returns to one issued by Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration. It replaces a more restrictive policy imposed by the Bush administration under which the Justice Department defended any sound legal argument for withholding records.

Holder said it was "a critical change" to restore timely public access.

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  • New Attorney General Guidelines on FOIA Released (National Security Archive)

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