“The government’s use of legal exemptions to keep records secret rose during President Barack Obama’s first year in office,” the AP reports, despite Pres. Obama’s directive that agencies stop using an exemption “that lets the government hold back records that detail its internal decision-making.”
According to a study conducted by the AP, Obama’s request has been completely ignored, and the number of citations involving the internal decision-making exemption rose from 47,395 cases during Pres. George W. Bush’s last year in office to 70,779 cases during Obama’s first year. Overall, executive agencies denied FOIA requests 466,872 times during Obama’s first year, versus 312,683 times under Bush.
What sort of information was denied? “The Federal Aviation Administration cited the exemption in refusing the AP’s FOIA request for internal memos on its decisions about a database showing incidents in which airplanes and birds collided,” but eventually the FAA released the information “under pressure.”