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Justice Department Pulls Proposal Allowing Government To Lie About FOIA Requests

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"These practices laid out in Attorney General Meese's memo have governed Department practice for more than 20 years," the letter continued. "While the approach has never involved 'lying,' as some have suggested, the Department believes that past practice could be made more transparent. Accordingly, as part of an effort to update its FOIA regulations and other aspects of its Open Government initiative, the Department took a number of steps designed to bring its handling of exclusions in line with Attorney General Holder's commitment to open government."

First, DOJ says it is ensuring the exclusions are invoked only when absolutely necessary, second, make agencies publicly report the number of times they invoke the exclusions, and third, to promote "greater public awareness" of the exclusions and disclosure of how they may be used.

"The Justice Department decided that misleading the American people would be wrong, and made the right decision to pull the proposed regulation," Grassley said in a statement on Thursday. "The American people are increasingly cynical with the federal government, and increasing transparency can be an important tool to build more trust. In other words, the public's business ought to be public."

The letter is embedded below:

DOJ Response to Grassley Letter