U.S. News & World Report takes a look at the newly launched FOIA.gov and likes what it sees:

One of Barack Obama’s first promises as president was to make his the most transparent administration in history. This week, the obama administration became more transparent with the Justice Department’s launch of FOIA.gov, a website that provides data about requests made under the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA request is a common tool of journalists, scholars, and government watchdog groups, as well as average citizens who are curious about the inner workings of government agencies. The Freedom of Information Act states that the government must provide any requested information that is not protected by law. According to FOIA.gov, the government received 597,415 FOIA requests in FY 2010, with just three departments accounting for nearly half of those requests.

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Data from FOIA.gov shows that the Department of Homeland Security received one-fifth of all FOIA requests in fiscal year 2010 (a period covering October 2009 through September 2010), with over 130,000 requests. Homeland Security records of FOIA requests show inquiries into past FOIA case logs, complaints filed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, and a classified evaluation of airport screening checkpoint effectiveness. The Defense Department is next, with 73,573 requests–just over half the total requests of Homeland Security. Many Defense FOIA requests pertained to information about the department’s contractors, but other requests yielded correspondence and memos written by past top officials, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Department of Health and Human Services received the third most FOIA requests in 2010, with nearly 64,000. An overwhelming majority of Health and Human Services requests in fiscal year 2010 (46,856) were to the department’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

 

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