Open the Government has a letter signed by a number of public interest organizations asking the Senate to adopt bi-partisan amendments introduced by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) that would remove certain parts of the National Defense Authorization Act that would exempt certain information from the FOIA. The post and letter can be found here.
The amendments seek to strike the FOIA exemptions especially the provisions (Sections 1054 and 1055) sought by the Department of Defense. Section 1054 would exempt “information on military tactics, techniques and procedures,” from the FOIA, and the language in this section has been read to be able to conceal information about the military’s interrogation and treatment of prisoners, handling of sexual assault complaints, oversight of contractors, and other matters of compelling public interest. Section 1055 (b) would exempt from disclosure information held by State and local governments related to critical infrastructure security. Aside from disliking the exemptions themselves, the groups' letter stresses that amendments to the FOIA should come through the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has primary jurisdiction of the FOIA not through the appropriations process.