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It's the FREEDOM Of Information Act...
Not the Captivity Of Information Act. From IHT/NYT, a few words on the Bush admininistration's notion that the rules, including the FOIA act rules, don't apply to them:

The Bush administration's obsession with secrecy took another absurd turn this week. The administration is claiming that the White House Office of Administration is not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, even though there are some compelling reasons to think it is. Like the fact that the office has its own FOIA officer. And it responded to 65 FOIA requests last year. And the White House's Web site, as of Thursday, insisted the office is covered by FOIA.

The fight over the Office of Administration's status is part of a larger battle over access to an estimated 5 million e-mail messages that have mysteriously disappeared from White House computers. The missing messages are important evidence in the scandal over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, apparently because they refused to use their positions to help Republicans win elections. The Office of Administration seems to know a lot about when and how those messages disappeared, but it does not want to tell the public.

What exactly does the administration want to hide? It is certainly acting as if the e-mail messages would confirm suspicions that the White House coordinated the prosecutors' firings and that it may have broken laws. It is hard to believe the administration's constant refrain that there is nothing to the prosecutor scandal when it is working so hard to avoid letting the facts about it get out.

Open government is essential to a democracy. Let's try to maintain ours. Both the open government and the democracy. At least, in this case, it's too implausible for them to plead national security. Especially since it's so transparently a matter of personal security -- that of those behind the firings.

The guy in the Oval Office works for us. Like any employer, we want to know how our employee is doing his job, national security excepting. And what could be preventing our chief employee and his underlings from giving us a briefing on their actions in this area -- save for it being true that they broke the law?

I think the administration suspects they're going to lose this one. (Is it any surprise Karl Rove is the latest to feel a sudden desire to "spend more time with his family"?)

Posted by aalkon at August 25, 2007 8:04 AM

Comments

Let's do a little sanity test. 5 million messages? How many is that per day per person?

And just what are the terms of employment for any attorney in the case? Where I work, any person exempt from the Fail Labor Standards Act can be dismissed at any time, for any reason.

There are a lot of people commenting on this as if those involved have a right to a job, and that's not the case.

Posted by: Radwaste at August 25, 2007 7:26 AM

Dang. Fail = Fair. Might be Freudian...

Posted by: Radwaste at August 25, 2007 7:39 AM

Rad, is a DOJ that works, not for justice, but for the service of a particular party, just groovy with you? It really doesn't work for me. Furthermore, there shouldn't be sneaky e-mails on Republican party systems to hide dodgy or illegal business being done. Again, these people work for us.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 25, 2007 8:15 AM

No, dear lady, it's not "OK", but the current structure was not installed by the current White House. My comments are to establish how much of this is hype and what actual transgressions - legal and otherwise - have occurred. The DOJ has always been a tool of the Executive Branch, and transgressions are not well pursued by Congress, possibly because those worthies are trying to get TV face time rather than fix problems. So, let us do what bloggers and their fans do, and ask, "How many million e-mails? How did these people have time to do their actual JOB? What did their actual employment contract say?"

Posted by: Radwaste at August 25, 2007 10:31 AM

I agree with both of you. Bush is full of shit, but there's nothing new under the sun.

I don't think anything particularly "scandalous" happened with the prosecutors either. (It was something pathetic, but that doesn't mean it was a disgrace by the norms of American government.) Basically, Dems contend every piece of clumsiness by this administration is the last straw, hoping that someone will be believe it's true.

Posted by: Crid at August 25, 2007 12:00 PM

Amy, as far as I can see the alternative to a DOJ that works for the party in the White House is one that works for itself. We can throw rascals out of the White House. How are we register our disapproval of the policies of a DOJ which is *not* responsive to that feedback?

--
phunctor

Posted by: phunctor at August 25, 2007 6:52 PM

I'm fine with those in the White House appointing attorneys; they should just be doing the business of justice, not that of the Republican or Democratic party.

As for registering feedback, I'm blogging it. What's your approach?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 25, 2007 7:02 PM

Amy,



In engineering we call that an unobtainium design. Elegant as hell, but delivery will be indefinitely postponed.



Elected leaders exert hire/fire control over US Attorneys. They are thus the bosses of these attorneys. US Attorneys are subordinate to these bosses, showing keen attention to their desires: hopefully, within the canon. It is not reasonable to believe that the creators of this design were unaware of these facts. It is for us to live with it, or to change the Constitution.



Human nature is refractory. We don't get anywhere by imagining standards that will never be met by actual human beings. No matter how many million bourgeois individualists they killed the poor bloody Russians never did find the New Soviet Man.



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phunctor

Posted by: phunctor at August 26, 2007 3:47 PM

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