DHS plays politics with FOIA requests

The Associated Press reports that the Department of Homeland Security has been delaying responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests — possibly including ours — while they are “reviewed’ by top political advisors:

[T]he Homeland Security Department detoured hundreds of requests for federal records to senior political advisers for highly unusual scrutiny, probing for information about the requesters and delaying disclosures deemed too politically sensitive….

The special reviews at times delayed the release of information to Congress, watchdog groups and the news media for weeks beyond the usual wait….

Political staffers reviewed information requests submitted by reporters and other citizens as a way to anticipate troublesome scrutiny. Days after the nearly catastrophic Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard a Detroit-bound airliner, they asked whether news media or other organizations had filed records requests about the attack.

[To confirm whether our requests were among those improperly delayed or subjected to political scrutiny, we’ve filed new FOIA requests for the documents released to the AP and for all records of the processing of our previous FOIA requests and appeals.]

6 Responses to “DHS plays politics with FOIA requests”

  1. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS Privacy Office ordered TSA not to answer our FOIA request Says:

    […] and to which we are entitled, under the Freedom of Information Act, in order to subject them to higher-level political review and an illegal requirement for higher-level political approval prior to any […]

  2. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » European Commission wants to immunize DHS collaborators in travel surveillance and control Says:

    […] which is directly controlled by the DHS itself, has no independence, and is the subject of an ongoing scandal and attempted cover-up involving political interference with requests — including ours […]

  3. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » How the TSA treats FOIA requesters it doesn’t like Says:

    […] DHS, which of course includes the TSA, has long had a department-wide policy requiring special political approval — and often delay — of all FOIA requests from media, watchdog, or activist individuals […]

  4. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » Sai v. TSA: A case study in TSA secrecy Says:

    […] requests by TSA and DHS officials on the basis of documented personal animus, and there has been systematic political interference by the DHS “front office” with FOIA responses. In Sai’s case, it’s not clear, and probably won’t become […]

  5. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » FOIA appeals reveal problems with PNR data Says:

    […] and public figures which, according to DHS policy, would have been subject to pre-release review and approval by the DHS “front office”.  The DHS front office has been intimately involved in international disputes related to PNR data, […]

  6. Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » DHS still playing politics with FOIA requests Says:

    […] contrary to Congress by the DHS Chief FOIA Officer, the DHS has resumed, or never abandoned, its illegal practice of political interference and specially disfavored and delayed treatment of FOIA requests from journalists and activist […]

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