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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Justice Dept. admits error but won’t correct report falsely linking terrorism to immigration

[UPDATE 1/8/2019]: Here’s more context about the DoJ’s disinformation report on immigrants:

Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism””. By Benjamin Wittes Monday, January 7, 2019.

Don’t look now, but the United States Department of Justice just came perilously close to admitting that it engaged in disinformation about immigrants and terrorism in a formal government report.

Also of interest in this post is the reference to an obscure law called the “Information Quality Act” which “requires federal government agencies to employ sound science in making regulations and disseminating information” (“What is the Information Quality Act (aka Data Quality Act?). JRJ


Well this is pretty messed up. The Justice Department is refusing to retract or correct a document that falsely links terrorism to immigration, according to the Washington Post. The Federal government is supposed to be a reputable publisher who is supposed to work for the American public. But when dubious, politicized reports based on misleading data are published, it calls into question the veracity of government published works.

This is the reason that information literacy — or as my buddy howard Rheingold calls it, “crap detection” (borrowed from Ernest Hemingway!) which 2 librarians at Dominican University helpfully turned into an acronym: Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View! Unfortunately, a document like this would probably pass the information literacy standards set by the American Library Association. The reader must have a great amount of context in order to detect the crap in this report. Perhaps GPO will update the record for this document in its Catalog of Government Publications to include a note on the report’s dubious nature. yes, librarians need to teach crap detection, but they should also include context to metadata describing the information which is under their control.

The Justice Department has acknowledged errors and deficiencies in a controversial report issued a year ago that implied a link between terrorism in the United States and immigration, but — for the second and final time — officials have declined to retract or correct the document.

via Justice Dept. admits error but won’t correct report linking terrorism to immigration – The Washington Post.

Justice Department Censors Nazi-Hunting History

Justice Department Censors Nazi-Hunting History, (“National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 331”), National Security Archive, George Washington University, November 13, 2010.

The Department of Justice censored dozens of pages of a candid history of Nazi-hunting (and Nazi-protecting) by the U.S. government to such a self-defeating extent that former officials leaked the entire document to the New York Times this week, instead of fulfilling the Freedom of Information request and lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive and its counsel David Sobel.

“Now that we can compare the redacted document with the complete text of the original report, it is clear that the Justice Department is withholding information without legal justification,” said David Sobel.

…The Archive posted today its original FOIA request, the government’s response, our appeal by counsel David Sobel, the legal complaint in the case National Security Archive v. Department of Justice, the interim response from DoJ, the “Vaughn index” of withheld pages and alleged justifications for the withholding, and the 45 pages of partial and highly-redacted response.

Just Released: DOJ Report of Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys

An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006, U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility, Sept. 2008. (PDF, 392 pp., 3.6 Megs).

Site http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/new.htm says “HTML coming soon.”

From the conclusion:

The most serious allegations that arose were that the U.S. Attorneys were removed based on improper political factors, including to affect the way they handled certain voter fraud or public corruption investigations and prosecutions. Our investigation found significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor in the removal of several of the U.S. Attorneys. The most troubling example was David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico. We concluded that complaints from New Mexico Republican politicians and party activists about Iglesias’s handling of voter fraud and public corruption cases caused his removal, and that the Department removed Iglesias without any inquiry into his handling of the cases.

However, we were unable to fully develop the facts regarding the removal of Iglesias and several other U.S. Attorneys because of the refusal by certain key witnesses to be interviewed by us, as well as by the White House’s decision not to provide internal White House documents to us. Therefore, we recommend that counsel specially appointed by the Attorney General work with us to conduct further investigation and ultimately to determine whether the totality of the evidence demonstrates that any criminal offense was committed.

A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Section 215 Order for Business Records (Unclassified), March 2007

In addition to the DOJ IG report that was posted here, another report from the DOJ Inspector General was also placed online last week.

+ A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of Section 215 Order for Business Records (Unclassified), March 2007 (PDF; 10 MB)

We conducted this review mindful of the controversy concerning the possible chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights posed by the FBI’s ability to use Section 215 authorities, particularly the potential use of Section 215 orders to obtain records held by libraries. Our review found that the FBI did not in fact obtain Section 215 orders for any library records from 2003 through 2005, in part because the few applications for such orders did not survive the review process within NSLB (National Security Law Branch) and OIPR (Office of Intelligence Policy and Review).

Thanks, as always to my colleague Shirl Kennedy at DocuTicker.com for posting this report.

Access to information sharply curtailed under Ashcroft

Shhh … someone might hear you. By Alex Johnson, MSNBC Updated: 6:19 p.m. ET Nov. 18, 2004.

On the occasion of Attorney General Ashcroft’s resignation, MSNBC reviews his contempt for freedom of information. One particularly notable case was the redaction of almost half of a report on workplace diversity in Ashcroft’s Justice Department. The redacted portions were uncovered, however. MSNBC notes:

According to the Justice Department, these facts were too sensitive for Americans to read about:

  • “Attorneys across demographic groups believe that the Justice Department is a good place to work.”
  • “The Department does face significant diversity issues.”
  • “The Department suffers from an inadequate human resources management infrastructure.”
  • “Section Chiefs are an extremely critical element of the Department’s diversity climate. They have significant authority in recruitment, hiring, promotion, performance appraisal, case assignment and career development.”
  • “Minorities are significantly under-represented in management ranks.”

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