FOIA Requests Denied Because Agency “Isn’t an Agency”
I should have known this was coming. Really.
Given that so far VP Cheney has gotten away with claiming he doesn’t have to obey Congress because he isn’t a member of the Executive Branch, we should have realized that it was only a matter of time before the Administration started arguing that other govt agencies don’t have to obey the law because they’re not technically govt agencies.
In a motion filed yesterday, Justice Department lawyers argued that the Office of Administration is not subject to FOIA. Their reasoning: the office is not an “agency,” by the definition of FOIA.
The motion was triggered by a suit from the D.C. watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, seeking documents relating to the disappearance of at least 5 million missing White House emails between 2003 and 2005. The White House has suggested that the problem stemmed from a move from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Outlook.
But the Office of Administration’s non-agency status hasn’t stopped the office from processing plenty of FOIA requests up until now — as many as 65 last year alone, the AP reports.
The Department lawyers admit as much in their motion, but say that doesn’t matter. “To be sure,” they write, “OA currently has regulations implementing FOIA and has not taken the position in prior litigation that it is not subject to FOIA.”
No, they haven’t. In fact, they still haven’t. That position is being taken for them by the Bush Administration which sent out its legal SWAT Team to make sure that people understand the people’s business is none of the people’s business without bothering to ask OA administrators what they thought about it, mostly because Bush/Cheney doesn’t care what they think about anything. The Admin’s got asses to cover.
This administration every day resembles a Monty Python sketch more than it did the day before, with the Prez and his cohorts blaming their “loss” of the emails on computer glitches and using excuses for refusing to hand them over that are on the level of “the check is in the mail” and “the dog ate my homework”.
“The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin’ on its back.” Right.
(Link via Norbizness)