25 January 2009

Fun Times Ahead

I cannot say how happy this Executive Order makes me:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Act

A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government. At the heart of that commitment is the idea that accountability is in the interest of the Government and the citizenry alike.

The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve. In responding to requests under the FOIA, executive branch agencies (agencies) should act promptly and in a spirit of cooperation, recognizing that such agencies are servants of the public.

All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government. The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.

The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.
Bottom Line: Good to see a Government FOR the People replace This One:

1 comment:

  1. I found the timing of this post ironic in that two or three days earlier Mr. Obama refused to answer questions about Mr. Lynn (and got angry about it).

    For me two of the more telling events in Mr. Obama's campaign were him beating a hasty retreat from a press conference while procaliming that he needed a break because he had already answered 7 or 8 questions, and Mr. Obama complaining that he wanted to eat his waffle, not answer questions.

    Maybe Mr. Obama's administration will be the most transparent ever, but the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

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