Transparency Watch : January 2013

Using DocumentCloud, FOIA Project to track requests, responses by agency

The FOIA Project has documented more evidence of what its staff calls apparent failure of the Obama administration to fulfill transparency promises, and an upcoming expansion of the project could be a step toward establishing definitive evidence regarding the administration's level of transparency.  

At the end of December, the DocumentCloud-powered venture from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University reported that there were more court complaints asking federal judges to force FOIA decisions under Obama’s first term than under the last term of his predecessor, President Bush. Over the last two years Bush’s second ...

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San Antonio withholds employee identifiers, with backing from Attorney General

By Joe Yerardi

Back in September, I filed a public records request with the City of San Antonio asking for their last five years of payroll data. When I received the responsive records earlier this month, I was surprised to find that the data did not include employee identification numbers.

As any data journalist worth their salt knows, employee identification numbers are the most reliable way to match individuals who appear in multiple records--both within the same table and across multiple tables. People change job titles. People change departments. They even change their names when they marry. But an employee ...

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Court dismisses FOIA lawsuit, upholds secrecy in drone killings of U.S. citizens

A federal court in Manhattan yesterday dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving both The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, who each sued the United States Department of Justice over records regarding the targeted drone killing of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan and Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman in the fall of 2012. The records in question included a memorandum from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which outlines the legal justifications for the killings.

ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a release on the ACLU website: “This ...

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