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(Reason Magazine)   "FOIA Denial Officer" is a real job title in the "Most Transparent Administration in History"   (reason.com ) divider line
    More: Ironic, Department of Education, Taylor D., Freedom of Information Act  
•       •       •

1316 clicks; posted to Politics » on 13 Aug 2014 at 3:25 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-08-13 01:32:50 PM  
Taylor August is indeed listed on the Department of Education FOIA contact web page, but without "denial" (or approval, or obstruction, or any other details).
 
2014-08-13 01:40:50 PM  

ZAZ: Taylor August is indeed listed on the Department of Education FOIA contact web page, but without "denial" (or approval, or obstruction, or any other details).


Duh. You think reason would be truthful?
 
2014-08-13 01:43:58 PM  
And?
 
2014-08-13 02:04:17 PM  
He has a wide variety of stamps available.
thumb7.shutterstock.com
 
2014-08-13 02:08:33 PM  
Per the applicable regulations the freedom of information officer "shall be responsible for determining whether records of the Department must be withheld from disclosure and shall have authority to deny requests for records of the Department." Sounds like Taylor's a bit fed up with her job and was making dumb jokes that she will regret soon.
 
2014-08-13 03:08:44 PM  
Ah yes, the FOIA thing.

The law the GOP spent the Bush years actively fighting which they are now complaining Obama isn't following through on fast enough.

That noted, the large number of rejected FOIA requests annually is a real concern to people on both the left and right.

Not quite sure what Reason thinks they are doing with this particular "gotcha" piece of journalism.

We already know there are people working in the DOE who deal with FOIA requests and that sometimes those requests are rejected cos they won't pay for the costs of reproducing the paperwork or for security reasons or because the material simply isn't available.

Whether they call themselves "denial officers" or not is immaterial.
 
2014-08-13 03:09:01 PM  
ReasonTM flings poo at all; hopes to stick.

Film at 11.
 
2014-08-13 03:12:20 PM  

Rev.K: ReasonTM flings poo at all; hopes to stick.


Come on, what would anyone do with a poo stick?
 
2014-08-13 03:20:10 PM  
I can't BELIEVE the government won't give me blueprints, access codes and guard patrol schedules for Oak Ridge National Laboratory!

/Giddy up a Oom Poppa Oom Poppa Mow Mow
 
2014-08-13 03:28:04 PM  
Well, they're being transparent about his title, at least.
 
2014-08-13 03:29:43 PM  
He wouldn't need a denial officer if conservative groups werent trying to use the FOIA as a weapon against the president.
 
2014-08-13 03:29:46 PM  
Why don't people on the right understand the very fundamental difference between the phrases "most transparent in history" and "perfectly transparent"?

Are they unwilling to understand or are they unable to understand how those two phrases are completely different? Or is it both?
 
2014-08-13 03:32:24 PM  

Snarfangel: Rev.K: ReasonTM flings poo at all; hopes to stick.

Come on, what would anyone do with a poo stick?


Pry off particularly stubborn dingleberries?
 
2014-08-13 03:33:09 PM  

incendi: Sounds like Taylor's a bit fed up with her job and was making dumb jokes that she will regret soon.


Since by default everything is subject to FOIA and the role of the officer in question is solely to judge when the department can claim an exception to the general rule, it's entirely possible that that's just actually her job title.

I mean, technically there can't be a FOIA approval officer because that's not how it works... they don't start denied and get approved, it's the other way around.
 
2014-08-13 03:33:48 PM  
I was gonna write a big long post about what I thought about this, but then I realized I don't actually understand the FOIA process at all.  You file a request, an officer reviews the request and you get told no.

I have no clue what guidelines are used to determine whether a document "must" be kept secret...

Should we... guys... listen... should we ... hey... guys... should we FOIA the FOIA process?
 
2014-08-13 03:35:20 PM  
The disclosure and information security is a joke. When they lose business emails because they went with a faith based honor system that individual users would archive their emails (that'll never be abused) it should have raised some red flags.

But you have to keep in mind, most open government advocates are concern trolls. They only pop up when the Republicans win and disappear when a Democrat is in charge. You'd think the nutroots would realize they're being astro-turfed but alas... victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.
 
2014-08-13 03:36:27 PM  

BeesNuts: I was gonna write a big long post about what I thought about this, but then I realized I don't actually understand the FOIA process at all.  You file a request, an officer reviews the request and you get told no.

I have no clue what guidelines are used to determine whether a document "must" be kept secret...

Should we... guys... listen... should we ... hey... guys... should we FOIA the FOIA process?



That would undoubtedly cause a rift in space-time, leading to the extinction of all life on earth.
 
2014-08-13 03:37:30 PM  
Now everyone is upset when he creates jobs.
 
2014-08-13 03:37:31 PM  
I am going to do a FOIA request for everyone's social security number.

But "the most transparent administration ever" will probaby just deny it.

Thanks a lot, Obama.
 
2014-08-13 03:37:39 PM  

Nobodyn0se: Why don't people on the right understand the very fundamental difference between the phrases "most transparent in history" and "perfectly transparent"?

Are they unwilling to understand or are they unable to understand how those two phrases are completely different? Or is it both?


Simple.  "They" support the president who said his was the most transparent administration in history or whatever, right?  So that means that "they" support transparency.  This makes sense cause I remembers when they got angered at W over hiding strategic secrets from teh terrorists, like nucular launch codes and the like.  But if'n they's supports transpaency so much'n why isn't they angered at the nnnnnnnnew president?  He's not no more transparent than the lastun!  In fact, ifn' you look close, and not that I have, but if'n you does he's more opaque than any other president in history.

Stupid libs probably still rooting for their hope n CHANGE.
 
2014-08-13 03:38:32 PM  
I had wildly unrealistic high expectations of Obama going in, and now Im disappoint.

Well, that does it, Ill never vote for Obama again.
 
2014-08-13 03:38:53 PM  
It's really... thrilling, to see how much Reason has cared about this stuff since our president became so blah... bla... ni... Democrat....  I didn't see much poutrage during the Bush years when your freedom was restricted to various compartments far away from the administration.
 
2014-08-13 03:39:37 PM  

bikerific: I am going to do a FOIA request for everyone's social security number.

But "the most transparent administration ever" will probaby just deny it.

Thanks a lot, Obama.


000-00-0000
000-00-0001
000-00-0002
....
 
2014-08-13 03:40:28 PM  
Reason can't.
 
2014-08-13 03:44:48 PM  

ZAZ: Taylor August is indeed listed on the Department of Education FOIA contact web page, but without "denial" (or approval, or obstruction, or any other details).


You mean Reason would lie?
 
2014-08-13 03:46:18 PM  

Snarfangel: 000-00-0002


Damn Roosevelt...
 
2014-08-13 03:46:26 PM  
Why hasn't Obama released the infamous "Whitey" tape??

Ive submitted several FOIA requests, still no "Whitey" tape.
 
2014-08-13 03:47:39 PM  

Mrbogey: The disclosure and information security is a joke. When they lose business emails because they went with a faith based honor system that individual users would archive their emails (that'll never be abused) it should have raised some red flags.

But you have to keep in mind, most open government advocates are concern trolls. They only pop up when the Republicans win and disappear when a Democrat is in charge. You'd think the nutroots would realize they're being astro-turfed but alas... victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


Sounds legit
 
2014-08-13 03:50:38 PM  
Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?
 
2014-08-13 03:50:56 PM  

vernonFL: Why hasn't Obama released the infamous "Whitey" tape??

Ive submitted several FOIA requests, still no "Whitey" tape.


Did you submit your requests in jive? This is important.
 
2014-08-13 03:51:47 PM  

Cletus C.: Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?


So there were zero FOIA denials before Obama?
 
2014-08-13 03:54:04 PM  
Well at least it didn't take long for the defender brigade to show up.


Guess I'll FOIA their records too.

TRANSPARENCY!!!!  WAAARGHARRRBLLLL!
 
2014-08-13 03:55:39 PM  

max_pooper: Cletus C.: Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?

So there were zero FOIA denials before Obama?


Historically, we can assume there have been fewer since Obama. Correct?
 
2014-08-13 03:59:19 PM  

Mrbogey: The disclosure and information security is a joke. When they lose business emails because they went with a faith based honor system that individual users would archive their emails (that'll never be abused) it should have raised some red flags.

But you have to keep in mind, most open government advocates are concern trolls. They only pop up when the Republicans win and disappear when a Democrat is in charge. You'd think the nutroots would realize they're being astro-turfed but alas... victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


So many buzz words.
 
2014-08-13 03:59:33 PM  

Satan's Bunny Slippers: Well at least it didn't take long for the defender brigade to show up.


I would rather deal with the "defender brigade" than the "umbrage squad."
 
2014-08-13 04:00:20 PM  

Cletus C.: max_pooper: Cletus C.: Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?

So there were zero FOIA denials before Obama?

Historically, we can assume there have been fewer since Obama. Correct?


Are we talking quantity or quality?  Are FOIA requests the only measure of transparency?
 
2014-08-13 04:01:17 PM  

Cletus C.: max_pooper: Cletus C.: Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?

So there were zero FOIA denials before Obama?

Historically, we can assume there have been fewer since Obama. Correct?


Have FOIA request increased significantly since Obama was elected?

How many of those new requests are politically motivated?

Has Congress voted to cut funds to meet this increased demand?
 
2014-08-13 04:03:12 PM  

quatchi: We already know there are people working in the DOE who deal with FOIA requests and that sometimes those requests are rejected cos they won't pay for the costs of reproducing the paperwork or for security reasons or because the material simply isn't available.


Security reasons and material that is not available, sure.  Cost of producing the documents, no.

In any case, this is turning out to be an issue for more than just the FOIA requests.
 
2014-08-13 04:03:38 PM  

Cletus C.: max_pooper: Cletus C.: Most transparent administration in history was just campaign talk.Did someone take it seriously?

So there were zero FOIA denials before Obama?

Historically, we can assume there have been fewer since Obama. Correct?


Depends on how many specious requests they get, doesn't it? Your argument assumes all requests are constant and valid.
 
2014-08-13 04:06:21 PM  

onzmadi: He wouldn't need a denial officer if conservative groups werent trying to use the FOIA as a weapon against the president.


He wouldn't need one if he wasn't trying to hide information
 
2014-08-13 04:06:50 PM  
Testing to see if I get an error when I post something that's different than the thing I was posting that gave me an error message twice.
 
2014-08-13 04:07:44 PM  

Snarfangel: He has a wide variety of stamps available.
[thumb7.shutterstock.com image 450x470]



Why are the X men denying FOIA requests?
 
2014-08-13 04:08:10 PM  

HeadLever: quatchi: We already know there are people working in the DOE who deal with FOIA requests and that sometimes those requests are rejected cos they won't pay for the costs of reproducing the paperwork or for security reasons or because the material simply isn't available.

Security reasons and material that is not available, sure.  Cost of producing the documents, no.

In any case, this is turning out to be an issue for more than just the FOIA requests.


Fox Propaganda link? .... ok...
*click*

First line of doc
The Honorable Darrell Issa

BWWAWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
 
2014-08-13 04:08:21 PM  
"Most transparent administration" =/= "Every FOIA request gets granted"
 
2014-08-13 04:08:21 PM  

cameroncrazy1984: Depends on how many specious requests they get, doesn't it? Your argument assumes all requests are constant and valid.


There are 9 specific exemptions to FOIA request and "specious request" is not one of the 9.
 
2014-08-13 04:08:45 PM  

Smeggy Smurf: onzmadi: He wouldn't need a denial officer if conservative groups werent trying to use the FOIA as a weapon against the president.

He wouldn't need one if he wasn't trying to hide information


Sure, why would the United States Government need to keep anything out of the public sphere?
 
2014-08-13 04:10:37 PM  
Jim_Callahan:

incendi: Sounds like Taylor's a bit fed up with her job and was making dumb jokes that she will regret soon.

Since by default everything is subject to FOIA and the role of the officer in question is solely to judge when the department can claim an exception to the general rule, it's entirely possible that that's just actually her job title.

I mean, technically there can't be a FOIA approval officer because that's not how it works... they don't start denied and get approved, it's the other way around.


Except for the fact that several large agencies (I'm assuming DOJ is one) ask for an exemption to FOIA every year and have gotten it every year since the law was passed.

Example, purely out of nowhere because of course I wasn't lead developer on a proof-of-concept system for another agency with a big five-sided building...

FOIA is a biatch. Basically everything that gets written from high-level policy papers down to toilet-paper requisitions have to be sorted into a detailed "Dewey decimal" system for compliance. Dewey decimal taken to N places. You'd pretty much have to add another ring to *cough* the Pentagon *cough* just to house the analysts required.

Add to that the fact that some departments do have compelling needs to not just hand over every document they produce. DOD would be an obvious example, the spooky agencies, and ones that are dealing with ongoing investigation that could be compromised would also fit.

All that requires cleared analysts to read things and decide if they'd be harmless if released. Toilet paper requisitions? Probably ok, but even there someone still has to clear it.

The upshot being that from day one of FOIA there have always been agencies that get exemptions and have a need for people to deny some documents.
FOIA does not automagically spill every document into the public domain. If that were the case, mobsters and bin Laden could just hire interns to constantly ask for everything known about them. Even if that were the case, there literally isn't any way to handle the paperwork.
 
2014-08-13 04:10:44 PM  

BeesNuts: I was gonna write a big long post about what I thought about this, but then I realized I don't actually understand the FOIA process at all.  You file a request, an officer reviews the request and you get told no.

I have no clue what guidelines are used to determine whether a document "must" be kept secret...

Should we... guys... listen... should we ... hey... guys... should we FOIA the FOIA process?


The FOIA process is public-facing, so I'm not sure what the point of submitting a FOIA for the FOIA process would be except to waste some poor schmuck responder's time in copypasta on stuff that's already out there.

Here, I'll help.

Government's general FOIA website. Tons of useful and instructive information.

Since I don't expect anyone to, like, you know, click the farking link and do any research for themselves, I'll provide a bit more:

Unreasonable requests can and will be denied:

"You should be aware that the FOIA does not require agencies to do research for you, to analyze data, to answer written questions, or to create records in response to a request." (I'd personally also have included that the information must exist and it must be readily available, like "Your request for all of Lieutenant John Doe's official correspondence during the Revolutionary War has been denied in part due to the fact that we are not aware that any such information exists and it is not currently readily available to us.")

There are legal exemption categories that will immediately and systematically flag your FOIA request as denied. The bulk of a FOIA office's work is first locating the information, and then reviewing it. They are basically looking for exemptible information. If they can't find it, the information is released. It's that simple unless I'm missing a step somewhere.

Finally, the more specific you are in what you are looking for and the more mindful you are of the legal exemptions, the smoother the process will be and the more likely it will result in a release of information.

There's more good information in there, and you can find info on Wikipedia, in the actual laws and EOs and agency-specific regulations if you care to. FOIA.gov should cover it for you.
 
2014-08-13 04:10:45 PM  

Mrbogey: The disclosure and information security is a joke. When they lose business emails because they went with a faith based honor system that individual users would archive their emails (that'll never be abused) it should have raised some red flags.

But you have to keep in mind, most open government advocates are concern trolls. They only pop up when the Republicans win and disappear when a Democrat is in charge. You'd think the nutroots would realize they're being astro-turfed but alas... victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


You forgot to mention Overton windows and bad optics.  And not once did you say "let's unpack this."
 
2014-08-13 04:11:56 PM  
FOIA request Reason's full detail tax returns
 
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