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Published on July 24, 2014

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PowerPoint Presentation: 1 The Freedom of Information Act History and Challenges: The Freedom of Information Act History and Challenges PAD 713: Information in Inspection and Oversight Professor Adam S. Wandt Chalice Diakhate , Dinara Wojcicki , Le’Shelle Joseph, and Frank Ono What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?: What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides citizens the right to access information from the federal government. A tool, citizens and reporters have for furthering government transparency in the United States. FOIA has been described as the law made to keep citizens educated about government and the information it handles. The FOIA gives any person a right that is enforced by law to gain access to federal agency records. 3 History : History All federal agencies must follow the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Law. Advocated by Democratic Congressman John Moss in 1955. Signed into law on July 4, 1966. Lacked force until after Watergate scandal in 1974. 4 History (continued): History ( continued) Sunshine Act of 1976. Ronald Reagan Executive Order 12356 of 1982. Anti-drug Abuse Act of 1986. Bill Clinton E-FOIA of 1996. George W. Bush Executive Order 13233 of 2001. 5 FOIA EXEMPTIONS:: FOIA EXEMPTIONS: Classified documents on national defense/foreign policy Internal rules and practices of an agency Materials to be kept secret under other laws Trade secrets and confidential financial data Privileged information from court proceedings Medical and personnel files Files on ongoing investigations Confidential data on financial institutions Information related to oil wells 6 PowerPoint Presentation: Courtesy of Google images. 7 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (continued): Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (continued) Although the Freedom of Information Act is a law, many agencies are rebellious to adhere to it by claiming exemptions Courtesy of Google images. 8 The Mission of the Department of Justice:: The Mission of the Department of Justice: “To enforce the law and defend the interests of the US according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to see just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” 9 Stakeholders (continued): Stakeholders (continued) Everyone is a Stakeholder . One of the core values of the DOJ is “the respect for the worth and dignity of each human being.” Add a picture here. Add a picture here. Add a picture here. Courtesy of Google images. 10 Background of Organization Historical Highlights: Judiciary Act of 1870 established the Department of Justice. 1938, Congress created the Administrative Office of the US Courts. The creation of this unit alleviated the DOJ from statistical reporting, payroll and facilities management responsibilities. 1921, Attorney General Harry Daugherty appointed a Committee of 3 district judges. The At-large judgeships were recommended for use in districts with backlogs. Background of Organization Historical Highlights 11 Background of Organization Current DOJ (as of 2012): Background of Organization Current DOJ (as of 2012) 12 : Courtesy of Google images. 13 Background of Organization (continued): Background of Organization (continued) The Department of Justice has evolved since its creation. The current DOJ is comprised of Offices such as: Leadership Offices Leadership Support Law Enforcement State and Local Assistance Legal Representation and Advice Immigration , Prisons, Management and Oversight Other Offices to meet the goals and objectives of the organization. 14 PowerPoint Presentation: Courtesy of Google images. 15 Department of Justice and FOIA : Department of Justice and FOIA Often requests for records collide with the FOIA’s exemptions to protect the nation’s security. The federal government uses different approaches to stall the Freedom of Information Act’s provisions 16 Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions: Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions In 2006, 9,500 formerly declassified and publicly available documents – totaling more than 55,500 pages – have been withdrawn from the open shelves and reclassified. Excessive classification jeopardizes national security as well ( failure to share information may have been the most important reason why the U.S. government failed to prevent the plot). 17 Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued): Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued) The Department of Justice demands that cell phone companies provide their customers with cell phones with already installed location-tracking technology Most cell phone providers store call detail records for five to seven years The Federal Communication Commission requires cell phone providers to make at least 95 percent of their phones traceable 18 Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued): Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued) Controversy of GPS and other location-tracking In 2002, the Department of Justice developed Total Information Awareness program Massive database of dossiers on individuals Profiling technology The program was halted by Congress 19 Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued): Incidents Related to FOIA Exemptions (continued) In 2002, the American Liberties Union filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the Department of Justice provides details of how it is using its surveillance powers. The Department of Justice refused to fulfill the request claiming that the release of the requested information would have jeopardized national security and ongoing investigations. Another lawsuit was filed in 2008 demanding the Department of Justice to turn over records related to the government’s use of people’s cell phones as tracking devices. 20 PowerPoint Presentation: Courtesy of Google images. 21 Decisions and Outcomes: Decisions and Outcomes The FOIA is improved by: Congress Legislation. The President’s Executive Orders. Court Cases. Administratively by Agency rules. 22 PowerPoint Presentation: 23 Decisions and Outcomes (continued): Decisions and Outcomes (continued) In 2009, in his first day in Office, President Obama issued an Executive Order: To administer the FOIA with a "clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." To make information available to the public and to utilize modern technology to streamline processes as a means to create a more informed citizenry. Instructed the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the FOIA. 24 Decisions and Outcomes The FOIA Guidelines: Decisions and Outcomes The FOIA Guidelines Emphasized not only the presumption of openness. Ensure that Agencies have " an effective system for responding to requests .“ Highlighted role of Agency Chief FOIA Officers. Directed Chief FOIA Officers to annually review all aspects FOIA administration. To report to the DOJ steps taken to implement the President's and Attorney General's FOIA Memoranda. 25 Decisions and Outcomes The Agency FOIA Reports: Decisions and Outcomes The Agency FOIA Reports DOJ FOIA Report for Fiscal Year 2013: Backlog: 6,990 Received: 70,081 Processed: 68,241 Full denials: 2,846 (exemptions), 27,184 (other) No records: 14,428 26 Decisions and Outcomes How the FOIA is Improved: Decisions and Outcomes How the FOIA is Improved Recommendations from Agency Chief Information Officer in Charge. Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) part of National Archives and Records Administration. Office of Information Policy (OIP), part of Department of Justice. 27 PowerPoint Presentation: Courtesy of Google images. 28 Conclusion : Conclusion FOIA gives people the right to retrieve documents from government agencies. FOIA protects government agencies from giving requestors any confidential or otherwise exempt information. All federal agencies are required by law to report to the Department of Justice on their FOIA compliance through submission of Annual FOIA Reports and Chief FOIA Officer Reports . 29 PowerPoint Presentation: Courtesy of Google images. 30 References: References Argus Leader Media v. USDA, 12-3765 (8th Circuit January 28, 2014). Awan v. DOJ, 10-1100 (D. D.C. January 17, 2014). Central Records System . (2014, January 29). Retrieved July 15, 2014, from CRS: http://www.fbi.gov/foia/privacy-act/systems-records Marzilli , A. (2012). Freedom of Information. Point. Counterpoint. New York: Chelsea House. McDermott, P. (2008). Who Needs to Know. Lanham: Bernan Press. References (continued) : References (continued) Rosenberg v. ICE, 12-452, 2014 WL 413569 (D. D. C February 3, 2014). Slobogin , C. (2007). Privacy at Risk. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Summary Judgement Law and Legal Definitions . (2010, May 13). Retrieved July 15, 2014, from USLegal : http://definitions.uslegal.com/s/summary-judgment/ The Federal FOIA Ombudsman . (2013, October 12). Retrieved July 15, 2014, from OGIS: https://ogis.archives.gov/Assets/OGIS+Reports/OGIS+Report+and+Recommendations.pdf?method=1 References (continued): References (continued) Transparency Project . (2011, November 22). Retrieved June 19, 2014, from Transparency Project: https://www.eff.org/issues/transparency/history-of-foia What is FOIA? (2013, May 17). Retrieved June 19, 2014, from FOIA: http://www.foia.gov/about.html USDOJ . (2011, April 11). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The United States Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/about/about.html References (continued): References (continued) USDOJ . (2011, September 12). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The United States Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/ag/annualreports/apr2013/apr2013-section1.pdf%20-%20s1 USDOJ . (2011, May 19). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The United States Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/jmd/mps/manual/orgcharts/dojorg.pdf USDOJ . (2013, August 29). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from The United States Department of justice: http://www.justice.gov/agencies/index-org.html

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