OK-SAFE, Inc. Blog

September 3, 2009

Gov’t blocking open records requests?

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , — oksafeinc @ 3:12 am

This is a perfect example of the problem with MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) and other information sharing agreements public (government) agencies have with other public (government) agencies and with the private sector – a shut-off of open record requests and an end to transparency in government.
The quote below from a ‘liberal’ new site is interesting due to the response to an open records request to the Colorado Fusion Center:
[Source: http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/articles/arethingsanydifferentindenver]
The Center for Investigative Reporting sought to examine documents from fusion centers in both Denver and St. Paul to better understand what roles they played in the security preparations for last year’s Democratic and Republican national conventions. But authorities in Colorado refused a public-records request sent by CIR.

The Colorado Information Analysis Center is run by the state’s Department of Public Safety. In a response letter, Spokesman Lance Clem said that releasing the records would be contrary to the public interest and “not only would compromise [the] security and investigative practices of numerous law enforcement agencies but would also violate confidentiality agreements that have been made with private partner organizations and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.”
[Highlights, bolding and underlines added.]
This should be a warning about efforts to change the open records laws.  The more access the government gets to outside data/databases, the increased likelihood of legislation to block disclosure of it’s (the governments) activities, due to the private sector’s “proprietary information.”
This lack of transparency should be another argument against increasing public/private partnerships and the expansion of MOUs (and more Non-Disclosure Agreements) under which public functions operate.

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