March 20, 2008

AG Ashcroft Destroys Your Right to Know

Published on Monday, January 7, 2002 in the San Francisco Chronicle
The Day Ashcroft Censored Freedom of Information
by Ruth Rosen
The President didn't ask the networks for television time. The attorney general didn't hold a press conference. The media didn't report any dramatic change in governmental policy. As a result, most Americans had no idea that one of their most precious freedoms disappeared on Oct. 12.
Yet it happened. In a memo that slipped beneath the political radar, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft vigorously urged federal agencies to resist most Freedom of Information Act requests made by American citizens.
[...] the Freedom of Information Act … allows ordinary citizens to hold the government accountable by requesting and scrutinizing public documents and records. Without it, journalists, newspapers, historians and watchdog groups would never be able to keep the government honest….
[...] Yet without fanfare, the attorney general simply quashed the FOIA. The Department of Justice did not respond to numerous calls from The Chronicle to comment on the memo.
This report then proceeds to list instances of citizens and activist groups using the FOIA for the benefit of the people. It can be found at this older post from

No comments: