Okay, now here’s a Congressional oversight review I can really get behind. Alan Fram of the Associated Press reports:
A House committee has asked the Homeland Security Department to provide documents about an agency policy that required political appointees to review many Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a letter obtained Jan. 16 by the Associated Press.
The letter to Homeland Security was sent Jan. 14 by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The Associated Press reported in July that for at least a year, Homeland Security had sidetracked hundreds of requests for federal records to top political advisers to the department’s secretary, Janet Napolitano. The political appointees wanted information about those requesting the materials, and in some cases the release of documents considered politically sensitive was delayed, according to numerous e-mails that were obtained by the AP.
I’m really finding myself in total disbelief over what Homeland Security’s chief privacy officer and FOIA official, Mary Ellen Callahan, reportedly told the Committee. AP reports that she stated, in a letter to the Committee back in September, that
political appointees reviewed the agency’s FOIA response letters for grammatical and other errors and did not edit or delay their release, the letter states.
So DHS would have us believe that political appointees were reviewing FOIA requests for grammatical errors? Or were the “other errors” they were checking for errors that might have given DHS grounds to deny the FOIA request? Or is this just a load of manure from DHS?
Personally, I doubt that political appointees are superior in grammar to other DHS employees, but maybe we can get the Learning Disabilities Association to fund some research on that.
Read the full coverage from the Associated Press on First Amendment Center.