FOIA rulings to increase Department of Justice transparency

Three recent Freedom of Information Act rulings have prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to be more transparent in its records management, according to the Associated Press, with particular attention to documents prepared during free trade negotiations.

Two of the cases in question ultimately resolved that protecting the privacy of legislators is no longer reason enough to withhold corruption investigation records from the public domain, according to the AP. The third case involved a "rare court order" to declassify a U.S. Trade Representative position paper containing insight on free trade negotiations conducted over the past two decades.

"I think what we've discovered over the last 10 years or so is that too much information gets classified, too many people have the ability to classify and a lot of things are unnecessarily classified," Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy Dalglish told the AP. "So I think the executive branch has lost some credibility over what needs to be classified."

These FOIA developments come just a few weeks after officials from the National Security Archive at George Washington University declared the Department of Justice the worst performing federal agency in terms of ensuring compliance with recent open government mandates put forth by the Obama administration.

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