Lawsuits Caused by Lack of FOIA Compliance Waste Taxpayer’s Money and Infringe on the Public’s Right to Know
WASHINGTON – Open The Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg urged America’s military and intelligence agencies to be more forthcoming and less secretive to avoid costly lawsuits that waste taxpayer’s money and infringe on the public’s right to know. Freedom of Information Act lawsuits have increased sharply under this administration, and an OTG survey of recent FOIA reports on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Army, Navy, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), show that these agencies spend a disproportionate amount of taxpayer’s dollars on FOIA-related litigation costs. The CIA is far and away the biggest abuser when it comes to government spending in defense of secrecy.
“Excessive and reflexive secrecy, that serves no legitimate purpose, is a costly habit that our intelligence community needs to kick before they waste more taxpayer’s money defending the indefensible in costly FOIA lawsuits,” said Open The Government Executive Director Lisa Rosenberg. “Congress needs to step-up and fulfill its oversight role to make sure agencies are accountable to the public and fully complying with their legal transparency requirements.”
Among the findings:
OTG’s study comes the same time as a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that many agencies are falling short in meeting their FOIA requirements. The GAO report is the result of a bipartisan request sent by members of Congress in April 2016. Read that report, here.