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Sunday, January 20, 2008

"We Can Be Sued for Silence" Editorial

This Wenatchee World editorial demolishes the Soter decision and lauds Rep. Brendan Williams' bill to fix it. A little excerpt of the editorial:

"There's a new technique in the never-ending quest for government secrecy. If you request a government record, a document you believe is rightfully public information, the government in question can refuse. You then file a written request, after which the agency desiring the public know less about it can file a lawsuit ... against you. Then, there's a chance a judge could declare the records a secret, maybe because they are potential evidence in litigation.

"The irony here is rich — government maintains secrets by suing the people who ask to see public records. Of course, they will use public funds to finance legal action to keep records away from the public. And don't ask for anything the government attorneys consider their 'work product.' Those are secrets, too."