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Transparency under fire: Federal government launches new initiatives to deny public access

Matthew Schafer of BuzzFeed, May 7, 2018,  writes that the Trump administration has stepped up federal government’s war on transparency, highlighted by the Justice Department deleting a section, “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” from its guidelines and placing more emphasis on a presumption of secrecy. It’s expected that the changes will usher in even more  trials conducted in secrecy.

Tim Cushing of Techdirt, May 7, 2018, reports that the Defense Department is not content with its extensive reliance on national security concerns to withhold information from citizens filing Freedom of Information Act requests but is once again asking Congress to exempt unclassified military tactics, techniques and procedures from the FOIA. Congress has turned down previous requests for this exemption.

Open records advocates are roiling over the efforts of officials in the Environmental Protection Agency to screen out certain Freedom of Information Act requests relating to EPA chief Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has been under fire for his first-class air fares, lavish spending on secure office space and questionable relationships with lobbyists. (Politico, May 6, 2018, by Alex Guillén)

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