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DOJ Drops FOIA Rule To Permit Lying

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-cannot-tell-a-lie dept.

Government 151

schwit1 writes "The Department of Justice has canceled a controversial revision to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules that opponents said would have allowed federal agencies to lie about the existence of records. In a letter to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Thursday, the DOJ wrote that the proposed rule 'falls short' of its commitment to transparency, and it 'will not include that provision when the Department issues final regulations.' The concern now is that the DOJ has been lying for some time and this rule was an attempt to provide cover for past denials concerning the existence of documents."

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Does anybody think they're getting all the info (1)

black6host (469985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944258)

I'm most confident that we are getting to see what we want to see. Even if they give out info that seems injurious to the parties involved it only gives us an impression of FOIA that makes us feel good. Lot's more to see here folks, and we're not going to see it.

Re:Does anybody think they're getting all the info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944280)

Wasn't that changed in the modifications under Ronald Reagan?

Re:Does anybody think they're getting all the info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944300)

Only for the worse.....

Re:Does anybody think they're getting all the info (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944636)

Wasn't that changed in the modifications under Ronald Reagan?

Clinton removed most of the Executive Order changes done under Reagan. Of course it's a little dubious that Executive Orders are used to alter the intent or scope of an existing Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_Information_Act_(United_States) [wikipedia.org] \

Re:Does anybody think they're getting all the info (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944904)

Even worse than the previous guy.
www.cheaptrxsale.com

5 Step Program (2)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944288)

1. Make laws
2. Ignore those laws, do whatever you want
3. Make new laws to cover your lies
4. ???
5. Profit

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944318)

Hope n' change baby! Even worse than the previous guy.

You're about 35 years late. (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944390)

This practice was originally sanctioned un the Reagan administration. This rules change would have formalized the practice that was developed by the Feds under Reagan's AG. By removing the rule change (under the Obama administration) they are effectively barred from covering up the previous lies.

So clearly, Obama is to blame....

-Rick

Re:You're about 35 years late. (2)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944434)

Of course Obama is to blame. Just because other Presidents have done the same just means all of them are to blame. Obama has the authority to end bad precedent set by his predecessors. By not doing so he shares in the blame.

Except (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944504)

that he is ending it, so your attempt at spreading the blame is a little silly.

Re:Except (1, Offtopic)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944564)

Right, he's ending the policy now that he's had three years in office. I'd be impressed if he did this in his first 100 days, not when he's running for a second term and his polling numbers are under water.

Still pretty sure there's plenty of blame to go around. This administration has not been very forthcoming when it comes to things like tax payers' money flushed down the toilet propping up "green" companies, where bailout money has been spent, how American made weapons are ending up in the hands of illegal alien murderers, and why there are so many illegal aliens in this country in the first place.

This administration has had ample opportunity to explain its actions and policies to Congress and the people (but I repeat myself) but has chose to delay, obfuscate, and outright lie instead.

Re:Except (-1, Offtopic)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944660)

Screw off, troll. You overplayed your hand with the "American made weapons are ending up in the hands of illegal alien murderers" bit, as if even Rush Limbaugh could blame Obama for that.

Re:Except (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944738)

He's the president. The buck stops with him. He appointed Holder, who may or may not have known about it. If Holder did, he's both a liar and a fool, and if he didn't, he's incompetent. Either way, he should have been fired already.

Didn't seem to stop with Bush, did it... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945906)

Because the ratio of people blaming Obama cf those saying previous presidents did it too is much higher now than the ratio of people blaming bush and people saying previous presidents did it too.

This is rather his own fault, since he's bending over backwards to wooo the right who just see an uppy nigger at worst, or a democrat at best, so he's going to get slammed by them. But, by his attempts to woo these intransigents, he's losing the center who are now not all that pleased with him and he actively slags off the little left you in america have left, so they're not going to be happy with him either.

Re:Except (1, Offtopic)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944762)

I don't see why not. Eric Holder is a total dimwit, whose illustrious career involves having covered up federal involvement in the OKC bombing. He has rather systematically assaulted Americans' 2nd amendment rights since he first entered office.

Obama could show him the door at any time. He pretends to be some kind of Constitutional expert, so it's not like he's out of his element.

Yet he's still there, lying to Congress about shipping guns to drug cartels. Why?

Re:Except (1, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944828)

Because nobody EVER went broke selling weapons. Not individuals, not STATES.

The U.S. Government's biggest income not counting income tax is sales tax and export duty on weapons sales.

Re:Except (3, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945480)

Obama cannot win. He has raped his base beyond belief. In fact, we will probably have more freedom if a Republican wins, because then the Democrats will go back to PRETENDING to care about civil liberties. No amount of Democratic party spin however, will cover up the unmitigated disaster Obama has been for peace, the environment, civil liberties, openness, and transparency. As astounding as it is, Obama has taken the Bush II depths even lower. His record speaks for itself and what it says is: Hi There, My name is Obama and I'm a big fat neocon!

Re:Except (4, Informative)

Stradivarius (7490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946454)

He's not being a troll.

The concern is not simply that they're American-made. It's that the executive branch (you know, the one Obama and his appointees lead) intentionally sold those 2000+ guns to known members of Mexican drug cartels. They knew at the time that these people were murderous thugs. But the officials overrode the objections of the gun dealers and some of the field agents to sell them anyway. This was allegedly to track where the guns would go, but A) the operation lost track of where most of the guns went, until B) some of those weapons were later used to kill a Border Patrol agent, not to mention in numerous Mexican crimes.

The debacle was called "Operation Fast and Furious". While investigations are ongoing, it's been reported that at least one of Obama's Cabinet members knew of the program - Attorney General Holder was briefed mid-program, in contradiction of his testimony to Congress.

Re:Except (4, Interesting)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944820)

\

Still pretty sure there's plenty of blame to go around. This administration has not been very forthcoming when it comes to things like tax payers' money flushed down the toilet propping up "green" companies, where bailout money has been spent, how American made weapons are ending up in the hands of illegal alien murderers, and why there are so many illegal aliens in this country in the first place.

As if the next administration will do any better? Surely you jest. I suspect that at this point we're in a death spiral. I'm not sure that at this point even an honest reformer could clean up the mess.

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945360)

I strongly suspect that if an honest reformer made it into the whitehouse his life expectancy would be measured in weeks.

Re:Except (1, Offtopic)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945944)

No kidding.

The corrupt, corporate donk sucking politicians in congress would impeach him in no time flat, if the media owned by the same corporate sector even allowed such a reformer to get into the whitehouse in the first place.

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947518)

Nevermind the fact that the president shouldn't even _have_ the kind of power that you seem to think he should. But please, don't let a silly thing like "checks and balances" get in the way of your delusions.

Re:Except (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946000)

The only way to get into office is to make it past the corporate gatekeepers controlling the media.

Re:Except (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946796)

I'm not claiming to like Obama at all.. but honestly if this sort of procedural stuff was at the forefront of his attention during his first 100 days that'd be great, because it would mean that we didn't have two wars and a collapsing economy. I doubt he was even aware of it during the first 100 days. People act like the POTUS is supposed to be omniscient wrt every nook and cranny of previous administration policies from day 1. Be happy, he's up for re-election and now we can FOIA all the stuff that happened during his first 3 years.. so the timing is actually *bad* for him if he's trying to hide something.

Re:Except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946878)

Technically, HE is not ending it. The DOJ is ending it. The executive branch is separate from the judicial branch for a reason.

Now, if Obama had influence over the decision can be readily debated by either side.

So when is he going to stop lying about coverups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946912)

Uh... It is pretty clear from emails that Holder and must important people in the Whitehouse were aware of operation Fast and Furious and its ramifications. It is very likely Obama even knew. It is also likely they knew of the consequences, started the illegal initiative (since the BATF and DOJ people involved have turned evidence or got promoted), and were involved in covering up the related deaths. However, the DOJ aren't providing related docs even when Grassley knows it exists and asks specifically for it. At this point nothing the DOJ does is trustworthy and they are seriously damaging their credibility in all cases political or otherwise. Until Holder goes to jail the DOJ is nothing but a political prosecution service. Of course Obama isn't the first there. The DOJ has been used this way since the 80's and got really bad under Bush Jr. (like most things). However, this is the first time the political crap directly killed people and they are protecting the politicians involved.

Re:You're about 35 years late. (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946584)

This practice was originally sanctioned un the Reagan administration. This rules change would have formalized the practice that was developed by the Feds under Reagan's AG. By removing the rule change (under the Obama administration) they are effectively barred from covering up the previous lies.

So clearly, Obama is to blame....

-Rick

Much as I hate to say it, he is, and clearly so. He has continued most of the same "screw you, we're the government" bullshit that W started. And that was a lot of screw you-ing.

Not passing the wiff test. (1)

MYakus (1625537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947808)

The Freedom of Information act was passed in 1982 (under the Reagan administration) and did have limits on what could be requested. Is that what you are talking about? The current Administrations directive to the Department of Justice to allow them to not acknowledge the existence of documents wasn't like the restrictions that were in line with FOIA in 1982/83 and this current move sounds completely different from preexisting limits.

For example, would the Administration's delays and resistance to presenting documents to Congress on Operation Gun Runner/Operation Fast and Furious be enabled by the attempted new rule? If implemented, wouldn't this completely undercut Congress's Constitutional role in oversight?

Re:Not passing the wiff test. (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948202)

The current implementation is based on a legal briefing from Reagan's AG in 1987 that basically said that if the government felt that the information was too sensitive, or was part of any on-going opperation or investigation, that they could lie about the existance of that record.

That loophole has been in place for the last 24 years. The rule amendment that just got shot down would have taken that implied hole in the law and made it an explicit hole in the law.

Now that the rule has been shot down, and the practice is getting some much needed sunlight, it opens up the option of lawsuits to challenge the "it's okay to lie" brief and to try to uncover abuses of that brief.

I'm not saying that the Obama Administration is all farts and roses here. They've done plenty enough to leave me fairly apathetic towards them. But the GP was implying that this issue was some how created by the Obama administration, when it was in fact created by the Reagan administration.

Yeah, it would have been great if Obama had walked in (on water) on day 1 and fixed every problem we have with the consolidation of power to the executive branch, but honestly, unless we have another huge Watergate that the press gets seriously pissed off about, that isn't going to happen.

-Rick

Re:5 Step Program (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944400)

While I agree that this administration is mostly the same corrupt crap, just with a different label, at least this guy didn't throw the nation into two wars which will force the country to remain involved for over a decade.

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944478)

No so far just Lybia and if he stays another term maybe Syria and Iran. But to his credit any other U.S. president will do the same thing.

Re:5 Step Program (3, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945182)

I'm going to assume this is a joke, since no one would be stupid enough to actually conflate Bush's trillion-dollar, decade-long, 4000-soldiers-dead, 100000-civilians-dead, all-based-on-lies catastro-phuck with Obama spending less than 1/1000 that much to do exactly what he said he wanted - help a popular movement topple an insane (not "merely" stalinesque evil, but full-on dementia insane) dictator - with zero American casualties, in 6 months.

Between his enthusiastic expansion of illegal spying, his desire to expand the most spectacularly and massively failed policy of all time (the drug prohibition) and his otherwise lukewarm-at-best support for socially liberal policies, there's plenty shit he actually does wrong to whine about. There's no need to make shit up, sonny.

Re:5 Step Program (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945536)

The scary part about Libya was that Obama ignored even the weakass nod toward the constitution that is the War Powers Act. Our founders wanted to make it so that one person was not able to embroil our country in arbitrary wars. That is why the constitution requires that Congress declare the war, and the Executive branch fight it. Giving the power of war to one branch makes the system susceptible to serious abuse.

The War Powers Act is the lame requirement devised to cover the unconstitutionality of all our recent wars, and it requires that the President come asking for permission, after the fact, from Congress within 60 days of warring. Obama completely ignored that law with Libya.

So, while Libya didn't attain the scale of Iraq, it moves us one step closer to a Napoleonic Presidency and is in its own way, a signifier that Obama is just Bush III.

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Bartles (1198017) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946536)

Really? When did Bush II ignore the War Powers Act?

Re:5 Step Program (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946898)

When was the last time that this country declared war? How many wars are we currently fighting in?

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Matt.Battey (1741550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947052)

I'm pretty sure that Congress authorized the president to conduct military operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq. At the time both Hilary Clinton and John Kerry voted "Yes" to authorize the president to take action. Then Clinton and Obama both voted yes to continue funding the war efforts. So in these cases, as well as Gulf War II (a.k.a. Desert Storm) the POTUS received prior authorization. The War Powers Act was in direct response to Viet Nam, where it was believed that Kennedy involved us there w/o authorization.

I'll ask again... (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947096)

When was the last time that this country declared war? How many wars are we currently fighting in?

Answered! (1)

MYakus (1625537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948298)

And the answer is World War II of course. We didn't delcare war on PRK (Truman), Vietnam(JFK), Grenada/Panama(RR), Iraq 1(GHWB), Afghanistan/Iraq 2 (GWB), or Libya/Yemen/Pakistan/Somolia (BHO). The only one in the list to ignore the War Powers Act (while in force) was BHO.

Re:5 Step Program (2)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944546)

He's only one term in. Looks like you guys will be bombing Iran soon: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/us-heading-war-iran-obama [guardian.co.uk]

Re:5 Step Program (0)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944612)

I wouldn't be too sure about that. The last time the US sent troops into a war with a country that was a serious opponent was WW2.
Since then there have been some proxy wars in-between, but never against a country that could actually take the fight back to them and do some serious damage.

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947470)

I wouldn't be too sure about that. The last time the US sent troops into a war with a country that was a serious opponent was WW2.
Please if you think the country that sent human wave attacks against Saddam, could count as a serious opponent to the US you are mistaken. Now that Obama has shown the future of US conflicts is drone and air attacks w/out ground troops, the US Air Force could strip the Iranians' air defenses in a week followed by 2-3 weeks of carpet bombing, and then just pull back and let the people decide whom they want to lead them. Not sure how you think the Iranians could do serious damage, their navy wouldn't stand a chance against a fully belligerent US fleet.

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948238)

You think Iran is a serious opponent? We could destroy their armies and topple their government in two weeks, losing only a few thousand casualties, just like we did Iraq. The expensive and difficult part is rebuilding/occupying their country afterwards, if we choose to do so.

Re:5 Step Program (3)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944658)

He hasn't done much to get us out of the two wars that the last guy got us into. He claims he's pulling out of Iraq, but it's not true: how many "contractors" are going to stay, how many troops, etc.? It's not a real pull-out until everyone is gone. And what has he done to get us out of Afghanistan? Worse than nothing, he sent even more troops in there! We need to learn from history and do as the Soviets did: leave that country while you still can. It's impossible to set up a democracy there, and in fact it's not helping our cause to prop up a corrupt government.

Re:5 Step Program (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944886)

At no point did he say he was pulling us out of afghanistan, he specifically campaigned on sending more troops there, because the war had been completely mismanaged and neglected by bush while he burned through our money fighting in Iraq. Obama was right then and he is right now.

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947560)

The "last guy" is Saddam and Osama?

How strange.

Re:5 Step Program (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948100)

We need to learn from history and do as the Soviets did: leave that country while you still can.

Because that worked out so well...

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945142)

That's more of an achievement of Bush. He already stretched the US military so thin and fucked up the economy, so they can't just spend a lot more.

There's little breathing room for another war. That is, until they pull out of Iraq and free up troops for deployment elsewhere. There'll be another war as soon as it's feasible ... and military contracters' CEOs need new bonuses.

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947000)

at least this guy didn't throw the nation into two wars which will force the country to remain involved for over a decade.

No. He only kept the original two wars going and added three more.

Oh sorry. I forgot. War is good now.

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944544)

if obama is worse than bush, then it's bush's fault cuz he was the president at the time of the election and let obama win so bush is worse than obama.

Re:5 Step Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944474)

You don't need step 4. Step 3 directly leads to 5.

Re:5 Step Program (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944718)

??? == Declare yourself King

You left out number four. (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945516)

It was a real easy answer,

#4. Blame Bush

Though you were being nice we have gotten worse than your list.

1) Have Secret Laws.
2) Have Secret Courts
3) Use intimidation and threat of force to keep them
4) Blame Bush
5) Stay in Power, I mean profit

No Problem! (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944320)

Now that they're not lying anymore, ask them if they were lying before! Problem solved!

We in United States of America or United States??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944378)

Where are you standing? The United States of America or The United States?

There is actually a difference: The United States is a dummy nation that exists since 1754 while the 48 States of America confederated into something like-wise called The *U*nited States of America.

Look in US Code for this distinction: the title is something in the Judiciary side of things where it contrasts Oaths made under Declaration or while others made by Affirmation. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, and it has been this way since The First Judiciary Act.

I'm not going to even bother quoting that Section because everything I post anonymously always gets moderated down to hell where the fine-ing people of Washington DC rule. Anyone care to quote what I'm talking about just to prove someone still cares? The United States as a nation also has a corporation in Washington DC called "United States" and only distinguished by dropping "The" from it's legal name. Fancy that. And all this has NOTHING to do with States of America because it's like a Security Transaction that is done remotely on a far-far away planet where tha law doesn't matter and all kinds of artifice is presented to simulate a country in order to dumb down the civics of the occupied territory and create a maintenance operation of legal consent.

Re:We in United States of America or United States (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944460)

I know where you're coming from.

I'm sitting on my couch here in England, the Land controlled by the United Kingdom Corporation, Limited (it's on Dunn & Bradstreet, look it up). The UK ("The UK", or "United Kingdom") is a short form of the United Kingdom Corporation, Limited, which is the Legal Entity created by the Crown (the 5 biggest banks in the World, nothing to do with the Queen), which through Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs collects tax to pay interest on loans taken out way back in the second decade of the last Century.

Great Britain, in my mind, ceased to exist in April 1972 when the European Communities Act came into force; this was the first step of Hitler's dream given form less the gas chambers. Europe under one flag, one currency, a Federated Superstate of homogenised regions ordered by *number* not *name*. The days of the Empire were numbered from that point on. As was our ability - nay, our *right* - to self-govern. Our grandparents fought to retain that right for SIX YEARS. The traitors in Government from 1970 until now spit in the faces of our War Dead, they make a mockery of true democracy and they continue to stomp all over the rights of the Population with impunity.

Re:We in United States of America or United States (2, Interesting)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945214)

Wait, so England actually does have the equivalent of the American delusional separatist gun nut?

Strange, it was believed that all their ancestors migrated to, well, America...

Re:We in United States of America or United States (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947516)

We have a name for them, 'euro-sceptics', and there is a surprising number of them sadly.... although they usually don't have guns, and most are atheist.

We have UKIP [wikipedia.org] , a fringe political party that stands on UK independence. It's position is that the Europe Union is a waste of time (which obviously explains why the party leader is a member of the European parliament ????).
We have the BNP [wikipedia.org] , a fringe political party that just wants 'johnny foreigner' to 'go back where he came from'.
We have the EDL [youtube.com] . They can't string a coherent sentence together, so I'm not exactly sure what they stand for.
We have the tories (kinda like the UK's version of the GOP), the current ruling party. They pretty much match the stereotype of the 'arrogant, elitist, snobby, englishman...'. One of their election pledges was that they'd hold a referendum on whether we should leave the EU. They've since back tracked on that.

Re:We in United States of America or United States (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948300)

The 'Euro-skeptics' are probably feeling pretty vindicated right now, I would guess.

Re:No Problem! (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944432)

Better yet, ask them to release all documentation on items they've previously lied about on any FOIA request. Then, get out a really big checkbook for the massive amount of paperwork you may or may not receive.

Re:No Problem! (4, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945594)

What? No! They've already passed the bill, are lying about having passed the bill, and lying in the statement about not including this provision to enable lying in the bill they're lying about having passed!

</TinFoilHat>

Re:No Problem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947846)

There are 2 doors to the DOJ: if you go in one they always tell the truth, and if you go in the other they always lie ...

Maybe they're lying about not lying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944328)

How would we know the difference?

There is no spoon.

Further down the rabbit hole this government goes.

The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944332)

...is to ask a question to which you already know the answer, and have documentary evidence of that answer.

Because then, if the public authority denies any knowledge, you can publicly enlighten them. Same as if/when you catch them in a barefaced lie.

I've done it a number of times. It's amazing what they'll come out with when you pull them in public for an outright violation of public trust.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (5, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944382)

Classic example of this: I ask the Ministry of Justice on how many occasions a family court judge (any family court judge, it doesn't matter specifics) out of a total 26,000 public law cases a year in the UK used Bench Memoranda (summaries of cases or even draft judgments written by their clerks or one or other of the solicitors) instead of drawing their own conclusions in deciding the disposition of each case; they said, categorically, none.

Disclaimer: I was an Advocate in Family Law.

I politely informed the Ministry that I had not only witnessed but had documentary evidence of no less than sixty cases out of seventy four in which I had been involved where the Judge had used Bench Memoranda - word for word to the drafts in most cases - and reiterated the question.

Their revised reply: "We do not know how many Judges use Bench Memoranda nor do we know how often if at all, they practise this. It is not a practise endorsed or encouraged by the Ministry."

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (0)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944412)

Had to post to undo my accidental mod down. Meant to mod you up.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (0)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944790)

Had to post to undo my accidental mod down. Meant to mod you up.

If Slashdot's moderation menu used a submit button for confirmation, this sort of error wouldn't happen and it wouldn't require having scripting enabled.

I'd consider applying for the job [theresumator.com] of fixing it, but it's in Michigan and they're looking for someone entry-level.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (5, Interesting)

blindseer (891256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944508)

Exactly. I believe this is precisely what is happening right now with the "Operation Fast and Furious" scandal. It seems that the House Oversight Committee has the nasty habit of asking the right questions of the right people and knowing precisely what documents to look for. They already know the answers, most of them anyway, since there have been numerous agents within BATFE and Border Patrol that have come forward and fed them information on the gun walking operation.

It seems that numerous people in Congress are giving the DOJ just enough rope to hang themselves. The DOJ is really getting beat up over this. It seems that people in State and Homeland Security were involved as well. The DOJ coming up with this rule to allow them to keep documents secret seems to be an attempt to contain the damage.

I just have to wonder, do they really think they they have the authority to deny these documents to Congress? Can they "lie" to the House Oversight Committee about the existence of documents? I would imagine that they can keep certain information from the public but they cannot keep the documents from Congress for long. These departments exist because of an act of Congress, if they get too far out of line then Congress can make them disappear. I believe that DOJ was reminded of this at some point since they backed off on this suicidal policy change.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (4, Informative)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944550)

FOIA, used in the right way, is a fantastic way to embarrass public authorities into telling the truth. When you already have the information (they don't know that - yet) and you ask them what you already know, they should be aware that a certain percentage of the questions they get asked are already answered; their credibility hence qualification to govern depends entirely upon their answer. Since such enquiries are covered under a Statutory Instrument, their responses are also covered under the same SI. Ergo, if they lie and they caught in it on a public forum [whatdotheyknow.com] then that is all the proof needed to legally disqualify them from their positions.

Gentlemen, call your lawyers.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37946124)

If that is true, why did Clinton finish his term?

When caught with irrefutable evidence of his lies, his eventual excuse was "what I had done wasn't illegal, so the only illegal thing that I did was lie about it."

What he did was immoral, unethical, and indeed illegal by itself. Even if it had been legal, his excuse for committing perjury is idiotic.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946378)

Since such enquiries are covered under a Statutory Instrument

Public officials already take an oath of office. We should amend this oath to make any lies whatsoever perjury.

Re:The secret to a good FOIA enquiry... (2)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946946)

The problem is this: what recourse is there when they lie? You have 5 people replying to your post with examples of doing exactly what you suggest. That's great! But none of them end with any officials being indicted, resigning, or really any change. What you propose is good, but we need to take the next step. Senators who lie should be impeached. Officials who lie should be fired, and potentially sued.

This is similar to when big corporations push frivolous lawsuits against smaller competitors. Even if they lose, they win, because the smaller company can't afford the fight even if they win. There is no real punishment for this behavior.

What if they are lying about not lying? (3, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944438)

If they are suspected of having lied in the past, and having issued the lying provision to provide cover for past lies, how can we trust their commitment to not seek approval for lying is truthful? (Debating this question would make a fantastic drinking game).

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944492)

If they are suspected of having lied in the past, and having issued the lying provision to provide cover for past lies, how can we trust their commitment to not seek approval for lying is truthful? (Debating this question would make a fantastic drinking game).

The only hard and fast rule you can trust almost all the time for anyone who lies for a living...if their lips are moving...they have to be lying.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944816)

Assuming what you said is true , if they told you they're lying what would happen?

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (3, Insightful)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944528)

reminds me of a scene in Labyrinth [imdb.com] . I don't have the exact quote to hand, but it basically goes:

There are two doors. Each guarded by one guard. Both will tell you which door goes where (one to where you want to go, the other to certain doom), but there's a catch. You can only ask one of them, and one always tells the truth while the other always lies. So you ask one of them "If I had asked the other guard which door was the correct door, which door would he have pointed to?", and whichever door he points to, you take the other one. It's a twisted logic, but there you go.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944748)

So the moral of this story is... no matter what anyone in the DOJ says, they are lying and the opposite to what they say is true? Sounds about right to me.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (1, Offtopic)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944754)

There are two doors. Each guarded by one guard. Both will tell you which door goes where (one to where you want to go, the other to certain doom), but there's a catch. You can only ask one of them, and one always tells the truth while the other always lies. So you ask one of them "If I had asked the other guard which door was the correct door, which door would he have pointed to?", and whichever door he points to, you take the other one. It's a twisted logic, but there you go.

The double negation is superfluous. You need merely ask, "What answer would you give to the question 'Which door is the correct one?'?", and you'll get the correct answer regardless of which guard you asked. The lying guard would lie about his lie, canceling it out.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (1, Offtopic)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944818)

um.... nope. If you asked the liar that one he will point you to the wrong door, and you pick the other one. If you ask the truthsayer and he points to teh correct door and you pick the other one... you're dead. You're playing the odds there.

It's in the wording.

By asking the question in the form I gave, the response from the liar would be to point to the death door, since he is indicating not his answer but the answer the other guard would have given and lying about it. The truthsayer would also point to the death door since that is the door the liar (having just demonstrated) would have pointed to. Either way the answer to the question will be the wrong door so you go through the other one.

It's not a double negation. It's a twist of logic.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944996)

Nope, you're wrong. He asked the liar which door the liar would point to had the liar been asked which is the correct door. Since the liar WOULD have pointed to the wrong door, he would then lie and tell you the correct door to answer your question. The honest guard would, of course, tell you the truth and also point to the correct door.

Of course, your answer is correct, too, and neither is more complicated than the other. Yours relies on asking one guard about the other guard's answer, which results in a single negation regardless of the guard (so the door pointed to is always wrong). His relies on asking one guard about his own answer, which either results in redundant truth or a double negation (so the door pointed to is always correct).

You're all wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947118)

The way you ask the question is to grab one of the guards, ask them which door to go through and tell them that they'll be going first.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945452)

Jaxoreth's solution is also correct.

The untruthful guard would answer the question 'which door is the correct one?' with the wrong door. If you ask him what his answer to that question would be, he will lie about it, i.e. indicate the correct door. (There's one negation coming from the question and one negation coming from the question within the question.)

The truthful guard will trivially indicate the correct door in response to the indirected question.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945476)

um.... nope. If you asked the liar that one he will point you to the wrong door, and you pick the other one. If you ask the truthsayer and he points to teh correct door and you pick the other one... you're dead.

Um, no, if you asked the liar which door is the correct one, he'd point to the wrong one.

If you asked the liar which door he would point to if you asked him, he couldn't say he'd point to the wrong one because that'd be telling the truth. So he'd have to point to the correct one.

Anyway, you could ask the liar, "if I had asked the other guard which door was the correct one, which door would he have pointed to?" The liar could've said, "he would've said 'I don't know,'" then you're f**ked!

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (0)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945830)

If you asked the liar which door he would point to if you asked him, he couldn't say he'd point to the wrong one because that'd be telling the truth. So he'd have to point to the correct one.

Or, he could say, "I don't know" :-).

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37947480)

I think you'd have to say "if I asked you which door it is, what would you say?" rather than involving the other guard. Then the lying guard is forced to lie twice, which makes him tell the truth, and the truthful guard will just plainly tell you the truth. The two guards may not be aware that the other guard is different from himself, so if you ask them about the other guard he may get it wrong, but they should know what they themselves would say. This solution also works if there is only one guard who either always lies or always tells the truth.

Re:What if they are lying about not lying? (5, Funny)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948176)

There are two doors. Each guarded by one guard. Both will tell you which door goes where (one to where you want to go, the other to certain doom), but there's a catch. You can only ask one of them, and one always tells the truth while the other always lies. So you ask one of them "If I had asked the other guard which door was the correct door, which door would he have pointed to?", and whichever door he points to, you take the other one. It's a twisted logic, but there you go.

This is my favorite solution to the problem [giantitp.com] .

Face it (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944486)

The whole thing from top to bottom is one big Cluster F*ck.

Re:Face it (1, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945042)

That's the natural consequence of huge blocks of voters voting for politicians that overtly state that as their goal. The GOP's prime objective last session was to prevent anything from happening, and they didn't even bother lying about it.

Why did they need to say anything? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944778)

A FOIA search would have never seen the classic “June files” (~1970's) “zero files”, “I-drive”s and "S-drive" over the years.
Documents would have been kept compartmentalized until needed or lost - from any defense legal team or FOIA.
Anyone could request any term and very little would come back - this rush to hide results is strange.
Too much next gen cloud starting to connect too many old databases?

They could be lying about not lying. (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944806)

The really sick thing is that this could be a lie.

After all... what better way to make people stop asking questions then to make them believe you first.

I don't really care what their rules are... what we need are independent investigators that how the power to go through records.

We used to have these... they were fired after they refused to play ball. They need to be reengaged. People that are able to see everything... full clearance and no investment in protecting the careers of the guilty.

Re:They could be lying about not lying. (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944870)

The information is already out there. Call it "leaks", "wikileaks", "crackpot conspiracy theories", or whatever. Take that information, put it to the relevant bodies, and ask then if it's true or not. Not in so many words (see earlier in the thread when I caught the Ministry of Justice in a barefaced lie!), be subtle until they lie and you can prove it - then publish for the entire webosphere to see.

Some sample subjects to hit them with:

Ask DoD about low flying stealth or unusual aircraft - ask CAA the same. Make sure you get sharp photographic or video evidence.
Ask DCS/DFS and police about missing kids. Particularly ask them about kids you KNOW who suddenly no longer seem to exist. Photos and details. Forward those enquiries to adoption agencies and ask them if they are aware that some of the kids they're *selling* may have been abducted.
Ask the Federal Reserve and the Treasury where the trillions have gone, why banks are reporting record profits to their shareholders yet publicly bleating about having no money (they have defaulted assets, that's what the shareholders are paid dividends on), why corporate executives are enjoying tax havens within our own borders while Average Joe pays 40% before he sees a penny then another 80% of what's left in sales tax and the banks and the Governments still cry poverty.

Some of us know the answers to these already. Yes, we're the ones you laugh at and call deluded.

None are more deluded than those who live in shackles and believe they're free.

Oh good (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944926)

It's certainly a comfort that they are not allowed to lie^H^H^H get caught lying. Next I suppose they will be required to pinky swear without crossing their fingers.

Cursed Earth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945026)

If the Department of Justice isn't dedicated to the highest moral standards, there will be no justice.

sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37945854)

Why aren't those whose proposed or recommended such language fired?

droids (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946244)

those aren't the droids you're looking for

someone had to say it

Change! (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946498)

'falls short' of its commitment to transparency"
Well, not really. I wonder who is going to get fired at the DOJ?

Duh (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37946890)

The rule is retroactive. When it goes into effect, it will allow them to lie now about not including the rule.

Poor headline (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947188)

Parse "DOJ drops the (rule which permits lying)" versus "DOJ (drops rule), in order to allow them to lie." It took me a good minute to work out how TFS and TFH made any sense together.
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