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A Message from the Department of Transportation Chief FOIA Officer

(Received via E-Mail)

BELOW IS A MESSAGE FROM LINDY KNAPP, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHIEF FOIA OFFICER. IN HER MESSAGE, MS. KNAPP EMPHASIZES THAT EACH OPERATING ADMINISTRATION MUST IMMEDIATELY BEGIN TO APPLY "A CLEAR PRESUMPTION OF DISCLOSURE ON ALL FOIA REQUESTS." IN ADDITION, MS. KNAPP NOTES THAT ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IS EXPECTED SOON.


February 2, 2009

To Chief/Acting Chief Counsels, FOIA Officers and FOIA Public Liaisons:

As you likely know, the President recently signed a statement on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to be followed by additional guidance from the Attorney General and OMB. I have attached a copy. The President has directed that all Federal Agencies ?adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government.? Although the Justice Department soon will publish its additional guidance as requested by the President, as Chief FOIA Officer I ask each DOT component to immediately begin heeding the President?s directive, applying a clear presumption of disclosure on all FOIA requests. Of course, the President?s memorandum does not change any law that mandates withholding information (such as decisions to withhold Sensitive Security Information (SSI) or information subject to the Trade Secrets Act), nor does the memorandum do away with discretionary withholding altogether, as when personal privacy and other vital interests are at stake. However, as the President has directed, ""The presumption of disclosure should be applied to all decisions involving FOIA.@quot;

Thank you so much for your cooperation.

Lindy

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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000