For the second year in a row, the Associated Press has analyzed just-released federal data and declared that the Obama administration has set new records in withholding access to government files and censoring the information it does provide:
The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.
It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.
Its backlog of unanswered requests at year’s end grew remarkably by 55 percent to more than 200,000.
There is also the issue that people are filing more FOIA requests than ever, too, costing more than $400 million to deal with. One could make the argument that the increasing scope of the government and the increasing number of rules and regulations directly lead to the increased request for records as people try to keep track of all the different tentacles of the gigantic federal kraken.
What sorts of things are being censored out of documents? The government is only supposed to redact personal information, but here’s what the AP found: