Using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) data provided by the federal government, we want to assess the openness of the three large and powerful law enforcement/intelligence agencies: the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. How many FOIA requests does each agency get per year? How many does it fulfill, and how many does it reject? How long does it take to respond? Are some agencies more responsive than others?
These agencies all deal in sensitive matters, and they’ve all had their share of controversy in recent years. So we want to see if their accessibility has changed over the course of President Obama’s tenure, maybe as a response to events in the news, and in the administration itself.
As the election approaches and Americans consider the effectiveness of the last four years, this issue is especially timely and vital.
To place our findings in context, we’ll be going after interviews with:
– Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government and lawyer with FOIA/FOIL expertise
– Danielle Ivory, Bloomberg reporter focusing on FOIA issues and government accountability
– Representative from the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group advocating greater government transparency