U.S. agencies vary on information queries

June 3, 2011 at 2:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. agencies' responses to information requests are spotty despite the Obama administration's pledges of openness, records show.

When The Hill requested Freedom of Information Act logs from more than 70 federal agencies, it yielded widely varying responses, the paper reported Friday.

Some agencies handed over logs with the names of requesters but not their affiliations. Other logs were handwritten. Most took months to reply.

The Department of Transportation, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Defense Contract Management Agency scored well on timely and complete responses. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Farm Credit Administration were among the worst.

Military and spy agencies generally revealed the least, blacking out names and subjects of requests.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deleted almost all subject of requests, citing the need to protect the identities of individuals.

Dan Metcalfe, a former chief of FOIA policy at the Justice Department, said, "The lack of uniformity is quite troubling, because uniformity of request treatment is one of the hallmarks of good government-wide FOIA administration."

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