Obama instructs agencies to be more open to FOIA requests - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Obama instructs agencies to be more open to FOIA requests

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is instructing federal agencies to be more responsive to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act by erring on the side of making material public.

In a memo to agency heads, Obama says the government shouldn't keep information secret "because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed." Instead, he says when in doubt, "openness prevails."

Obama also says agencies should actively seek ways to publicly release information, such as on Web sites that post frequently requested documents.

It's a major departure from the days of the Bush administration, which actively sought to prevent disclosure on grounds of national security.

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