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Federal Government, HHS, DOJ: Gaming the Freedom of Info System
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.
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.
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.
2008 December: President Obama nominates Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. 2009 Jan. 13: Reports say the clintonemail.com domain was established. Jan. 21: Senate confirms Clinton as secretary of state. March 18: Clinton will later name this as the date she began using a private server for government business. 2012 Sept. 11: Islamic extremists launch […]