The Federal Times has this blog post on its FOIA request for the report on the hacking of the Thrift Savings Plan in 2011. According to the TSP, the report is being withheld pursuant to FOIA Exemption 7(E). I am quoted as saying for any portion of this report to be withheld under the exemption, a law enforcement threshhold must be met and then any segregable information that doesn't meet the criteria must also be released.
The Hill reports that the Republican National Committee ("RNC") has sent a FOIA request to the State Department seeking emails between the Obama Campaign and the State Department on Benhazi. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the State Department to respond to the request, especially in light of the sequestration that has caused many FOIA Operations to be drastically cut back.
The Capital Press reports that the Oregon Farm Bureau has filed a suit against the Department of Labor concerning records about blueberry farms in the state. The educational value of the FOIA is evident in that I wasn't even aware that Oregon had blueberry farms.
Openthegovernment.org has this graphic outlining the FOIA Process and common problems encountered at the different stages along the way. it's a very helpful tool for all of those (new and experienced) in the FOIA world.
POGO has this update on the Grassley Amendment to the Farm Bill. According to POGO, voting on the amendment was postponed before the Senate adjourned for Memoria Day, largely due to the intervention of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). The amendment will be taken up again after the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess in early June.
The Sunshine in Government Blog reports on Sen. Charles Grassley's (R-IA) attempt to amend the latest version of the farm bill with language specifically exempting basic phone directory information of livestock owners and operators from disclosure. According to the amendment's backers its a defense against domestic terrorism.
I haven't heard of much domestic terrorism against farmers, I wish Grassley would expand upon that one. I really believe the amendment is more of a war on transparency.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that a lower court ruling that the Osama Bin Laden death photos are properly classified and exempt from release under the FOIA. The opinion can be found here.
Forget about the IRS -- a real scandal in the bureacracy is that it took the CDC five years to process a FOIA request. The request concerns lyme disease and according to the requester embarrases the agency and its actions towards the disease.
If Congress really cared about transparency they'd call these folks up to the Hill for a discussion of its actions on the snail's pace they took to process these records.
Last week at the American Society of Access Professionals I was honored to present the ASAP President's Award to Miriam Nisbet, the Director of the Office of Government Information Services ("OGIS") and the Director's Award to the Public Interest Declassification Board ("PIDB"). Both OGIS and the PIDB are components of the National Archives and Records Administration and the awards were highlighted on the agency's blog.
One of the latest trends in the FOIA is the problems associated with searching emails. I don't know anything about this company, but thought that this press release was interesting as the company is providing its email archiving solution free to local and state governments -- I understand that its sort of like buying a wheel for a car without the car, but nevertheless I am glad to know that the private sector is working on solutions to the problems of retention of emails. The press release can be found here (I am not endorsing this product or company).