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DoJ Answers FOIA Request After Six Years With No Real Information 107

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the proof-aliens-exist dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In response to a Freedom of Information Act request about Google's 2007 complaint against Windows Vista search interference, the Department of Justice has after six years released 114 partially redacted pages and 60 full pages of material. Yet these 'responsive documents' consist of public news articles and email boilerplate. All the substantive information has been blacked out."
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DoJ Answers FOIA Request After Six Years With No Real Information

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  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:55AM (#43411167)

    You can see right through them.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:33AM (#43411465)

    "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government." - Barack Obama

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment [whitehouse.gov]

  • Re:Give 'em a break. (Score:5, Informative)

    by khallow (566160) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @10:09AM (#43411751)

    That undermines any internal oversight, since nothing can be handled discreetly in an official capacity.

    Internal oversight is a bad joke. There's the huge, obvious conflict of interest - foxes are in charge of watching the henhouse. And there are no repercussions when it fails.

    Let's give a particularly notorious example using the current administration. Back in 2010 and 2011, in the "Fast and Furious" gunwalking scheme, the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, a US federal law enforcement bureau) enabled the smuggling of about 2,000 high quality firearms into Mexico without any sort of precaution, either a plan to prevent their use in crime or passing on a warning to Mexican law enforcement so that they could deal with the problem. I say "enabled" because among other things, they encouraged legitimate gun dealers to sell those firearms to the smugglers in question and then allowed those firearms to cross the border into Mexico unchecked (and who knows what else the smugglers carried at that time!).

    By the summer of 2011, it was apparent that these firearms were turning up at crime scenes, including murder, because they had a report to that effect which indicated several hundred of these weapons had already turned up at crime scenes. This includes murders and probably includes US crime scenes. Yet the program was continued (that is, criminals were allowed to continue to smuggle firearms into Mexico that the US had a really good idea would be used in crimes in the US and Mexico) till a US law enforcement agent was killed in a firefight involving two weapons from this program.

    Here's the problem. In the US and probably in Mexico, if you provide a weapon which is used in a crime, knowing that it'll get used for crime, then you are an accessory to that crime. In particular, a number of those crimes were murders. What we have here is a fairly straightforward case of ATF agents committing (probably a large number of times) the felony of accessory to murder and similar crimes. Or maybe criminal negligence, if you're feeling kind to people who may be partly responsible for a couple hundred deaths.

    So what came of the "internal oversight"? Nobody higher up the food chain remembers anything even though there's evidence that they were informed of the progress of the program on occasion. Similarly, the people directly involved work somewhere in DC now. The head of the ATF had to resign without any other consequence. There's no indication that the Department of Justice will ever investigate the activities of Fast and Furious much less prosecute anyone for the crimes committed.

    That's the reality of "internal oversight". It doesn't get done unless the people with external oversight apply enough pressure. That's where FOIA comes in. It allows you to learn enough about what happened that you can apply that pressure.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @11:49AM (#43412711)
    Except that the facts say that fewer FOIA requests have actually been responded to under Obama than under Bush. Obama has said all the right things about transparency, but the people who work for him haven't actually done anything. Perhaps you remember that days after taking office Obama issued and executive order closing Guantanamo within a year. It is still open. What you talked about in your post is the same thing. Obama issued a high profile order and then no one followed through (actually the people responsible for following through in the case you mentioned did the exact opposite of the high profile order).
  • Re:No surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @01:23PM (#43413753) Homepage Journal

    Laugh it up, but that really is most peoples' excuse for voting for those parties.

    It's actually not a bad excuse - plurality voting guarantees [wikipedia.org] that it will be one or the other. I don't know about you, but I donated to the Approval Voting Video [indiegogo.com] on IndyGoGo.

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