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to make available or not to make available that is the question

Over a year’s time I have contacted the Department of Justice webmaster four times about making two letters and two memos available officially.

The first inquiry pertained to the agency making Attorney General Barr’s letter available where he interpreted Special Counsel Mueller’s report as exonerating the President. They responded within 72 hours that they would.
letter: https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1167086/download
Remarks: https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/attorney-general-william-p-barr-delivers-remarks-release-report-investigation-russian

Shortly after, when Mueller released his letter responding to Barr’s characterization of the report and conclusions, I asked that they make it available. They never responded.

When the President wrote a memo that authorized Barr to declassify any information solely at his discretion, I asked that the Department make it available. The webmaster responded that the memo was the President’s and therefore they could not make it available. I had checked the Whitehouse’s and Department’s websites before inquiring to see if it was there. Soon after the webmaster’s response, I checked the Whitehouse website again, and the memo was there. Since then It has been removed but published in the Compilation of Presidential Documents. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/DCPD-201900335/pdf/DCPD-201900335.pdf

Three weeks ago when Barr issued his memo to all staff that conducting investigations pertaining to the election and politics during an election year needed to seek approval at the highest level.
Pierre Thomas, an ABC correspondent, interviewed Barr about the memo and other matters. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/transcript-attorney-general-bill-barrs-exclusive-interview-abc/story?id=68975178. I asked the Department to make the memo available. I didn’t receive a response. I followed up a week later about my initial inquiry and still haven’t received a response.

co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.

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.