Obama and FOIA requests

March 31, 2010

Seen on Slashdot: an article claiming that the Obama administration withholds more FOIA requests than the previous administration.

Agencies under the Obama administration cite security provisions to withhold information more often than they did under the Bush administration. For example, the ‘deliberative process’ exemption of the Freedom of Information Act was used 70,779 times in 2009, up from the 47,395 of 2008.

But I’m extremely grateful to an anonymous commentator, who writes:

Misleading framing of numbers. Go get more informative numbers from here [sunshineingovernment.org]. In 2008 56% of requests were granted. In 2009 61% of requests were granted. 2009 also worked to clear up the request backlog. It is a move in the right direction and as others have pointed out Bush was still in charge for part of FY 2009, so he might have skewed the numbers for the year.

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