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Anniversary of Freedom of Information Act

George Washington University’s National Security Archive, the leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, today released its annual Freedom of Information Act birthday posting, 37 years to the day after President Johnson grudgingly signed the U.S. FOIA into law on July 4, 1966. The Archive reported that documents released under federal, state and local freedom of information acts sparked more than 6,000 news stories in 2002 and the first half of 2003 (according to the Archive’s searches of on-line databases), including revelations of major public interest such as the use of electronic highway toll data in criminal, administrative and civil probes, the failure of government agencies to prosecute water pollution violations, the misuse of federal student aid, defective military airplanes, and the loss of explosives, mines, mortars and firearms from U.S. stockpiles. The report features an itemized list of 20 significant news stories from the last 18 months that cited documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.”

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