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Govt Inform Law & Policy (LAW-700B-001)
From time to time during the semester, this course will include the presentation of real-world FOIA problems for solution during class. The first such presenter will be Adina Rosenbaum, Director of the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse at Public Citizen Litigation Group, on Thursday September 20. The second will be Scott Amey, General Counsel of the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), on Thursday October 18. That latter day will also feature a brief presentation by litigator Stephen Raher on his highly successful current FOIA suit against the Department of Justice for Bureau of Prisons records.
LAW-700B-001 Government Information Law and Policy (3 hrs.) An examination of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and related laws and policies throughout the federal government -- including matters of national security, personal privacy, and law enforcement sensitivity. The class will also explore the intractable problem area of “pseudosecrecy,” in which federal agencies have since 9/11 increasingly used document safeguarding labels such as “For Official Use Only (FOUO),” “Sensitive But Unclassified Information (SBU),” and “Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)” to guard against information disclosure. There will be a mid-term exam and a final exam, with the final grade split 35%/55% between them, plus 10% for class participation. Additionally, students in this class become eligible to meet their Upper-Level Writing Requirement with a separate paper in this subject area.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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See immediately below.
First Class Readings
For the first class, students should read the "Introduction" section of the most recent edition of the Department of Justice's "Freedom of Information Act Guide," which is available at http://www.justice.gov/oip/foia_guide09.htm. Additional readings will consist largely of Supreme Court decisions that are readily available on the Web site of WCL's Collaboration on Government Secrecy (http://www.wcl.american.edu/lawandgov/cgs/).