Freedom of Information? Fifteen Months Waiting for Four Blank Pages

Last year, PJM made a FOIA request regarding who flew to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Why did it go all the way to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and why was everything redacted?

Patrick Richardson
Pajamas Media

Back in December 2009, my colleague and — I flatter myself — friend Richard Pollock, PJM Washington bureau chief, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Air Force asking for some fairly routine information.

It was just after the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen. He wanted to know who was on the Air Force flights to Copenhagen — including Air Force One. And he wanted to know how much taxpayer money was spent flying these people back and forth, how much baggage, etc.

There was a bit more to it than that, of course, but it was still pretty innocuous stuff. The volume of fuel used in the flights and how much the baggage weighed, as well as who was on all the flights, is information kept by the Air Force as a matter of course. This request should have taken about 20 minutes with a file cabinet to fill. Additionally, while this information would be classified (also as a matter of course), none of it was national security information. We all know the president went to Copenhagen and came back empty-handed.

Fast forward 15 months.

Richard finally got a response — four blank pages.

Well, not completely blank. They had departure and arrival times for four airplanes, but everything else was redacted and referred to the Secret Service.

This was the culmination of 15 months of slapstick back-and-forth which would have done credit to a Buster Keaton movie…

…I also know that for an administration which two years ago promised to be the most open and transparent administration in history, this is standard operating procedure. Indeed the AssociatedPress found the Obama administration has the worst FOIA response record of any presidency…

The complete article is at Pajamas Media.

H/T Instapundit

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