Thursday, October 11, 2012

Obama's FOIA Transparency Raises Questions


An article published by Geoffrey Ingersoll from the Business Insider investigates President Obama's "new era of transperency" regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Recently, roughly 200 private companies were awarded over 250 FOIA contracts from 25 governmental agencies

Danielle Ivory of Bloomberg was unable to get in contact with eleven out of twelve companies. Furthermore, Ivory reports that since President Obama took office in 2009, spending on FOIA-related contracts has risen by 40 percent.

Ingersoll cites another Bloomberg report which graded Obama with an F in transparency, finding 19 of 20 departments in violation of law. One private company reviewing FOIA-related cases has received scrutiny because it is currently involved in a pending case. Kade Ellis, ACLU rights activist, expresses her concerns.
"There could be very serious conflicts of interest involved when private companies are tasked with managing the processes whereby sensitive (and likely embarrassing or damning) government secrets are disclosed to the public. Case in point is CACI International, a military and intelligence contractor that is facing a lawsuit alleging its employees participated in the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. CACI is one of the companies the federal government has outsourced FOIA work to over the past ten years."

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