Federal Government, HHS, DOJ: Gaming the Freedom of Info System

Example of government healthcare.gov documents provided in FOIA lawsuit (with extensive redactions).
Above: Example of public documents turned over by government in Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over Obamacare and HealthCare.gov

In addition to the active lawsuit I have in federal court over the intrusion into my government computers, I have been litigating several of the many failed government responses to lawful Freedom of Information Act requests.

I’m giving up on one of them as of this week.

It’s my request for public material the government withheld after the disastrous launch of Obamacare in 2013 when I was reporting on the topic for CBS News. We have learned, among other things, that federal officials gave incorrect and misleading information to the public and under oath to Congress regarding serious security failures in development and testing of the national website and system, and other important topics.

Read some of my Obamacare reports here

When the government stonewalled on releasing documents and information that would get at the truth, I filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the material. When the stonewalling dragged on, I filed a lawsuit in federal court. The judge agreed the material must be provided, but allowed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come up with a “rolling production schedule” that would trickle out highly-redacted and useless documents over a period of years.

Remember, the government is required to provide the information under Freedom of Information requests in about 30 days.

Four years later, and after much effort and expense put forth by Judicial Watch which assisted in the litigation (and has had unprecedented success in prying public documents from the grip of Democrat and Republican administrations), there seems to be little point in continuing on.

A sample of Obamacare redacted documents provided by HHS in response to my FOI lawsuit.

The government, under the guidance of the Department of Justice, has successfully gamed the system once again.

The filing dismissing my case reads:

Plaintiff Sharyl Attkisson states as follows: She originally sought the records at issue in this case in the fall of 2013 for a story she was working on at that time. Now, almost 4 years later, Plaintiff is not much closer to being able to write that story. Defendant still has approximately 25,000 pages to be processed, which at a rate of 1,750 pages every two months, will take approximately another 26 months to produce. That also does not account for the records being withheld in full or being produced with redactions. Because Plaintiff is not receiving the requested information in a timely manner, she believes that continuing this litigation serves no further purpose.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), Plaintiff Attkisson and Defendant U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, by counsel, hereby stipulate to the dismissal of this action with prejudice, each party to bear its own attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.

Order my New York Times bestseller “The Smear.”

 

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3 Responses to “Federal Government, HHS, DOJ: Gaming the Freedom of Info System”

  1. Patricia
    August 5, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Great work, swamp critters are dangerous, stay safe. Need a trusted friend to keep info collected to pass on if GOD forbid anything goes wrong my prayers are with you

  2. Michelle Clesceri
    August 8, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    I am sorry to hear this. It seems they won this round. And many others. But thank you for your efforts. I know they are costly. I’ve read The Smear and Stonewalled. You are a true American hero and I thank you for your service to our country. The fight for information from the clutches of an interested corrupt political class is a fight for the heart of our Republic. Keep up the truly important work. You are an inspiration!

  3. helenk3
    August 10, 2017 at 7:32 am #

    thought this would interest you

    the CIA and journalism schools

    https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/aug/01/cia-ig-bm/