FOIA Hearing Underway

Senator Patrick Leahy has just kicked off a hearing on the status of the Freedom of Information Act, which is being webcast live on the Judiciary Committee’s website.

Starting off will be a two person panel, with appearances by an associate attorney general representing the Justice Department, and, I think, the first hearing appearance by Miriam Nisbet, who earlier this summer became the first person to lead the National Archives’ new Office of Government Information Services, or as it’s commonly known, the FOIA ombudsman office. It will be especially interesting to hear her testimony, as the office’s role and presence in monitoring FOIA is still being shaped.

Following that will be another two person panel of two of the strongest outside advocates for open government, Meredith Fuchs of the non-governmental National Security Archive, and Tom Curley, the CEO of the Associated Press. Under Curley, the AP has become a big player in access issues. And that’s a very good thing for journalists and the public.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.