This Leaked Memo Shows How The Government Strategizes To Keep Information From Reporters

It comes as no surprise that the federal government doesn’t give up information easily, but this email that the U.S. Navy unwittingly to an NBC News reporter shows the extent to which officials are willing to go to keep some records from public view.

Investigative journalist Scott McFarlane tweeted a screenshot of the memo that describes the public records liaison’s strategy for denying his Freedom of Information Act request:

The memo shows how public officials try to keep information from reporters — it describes getting help from others to “craft language” that would justify deeming the request “overly broad,” which allows the public records office to ask that the requester be more specific.

This is an easy way to make sure people know specifically what information they’re after before they get the records, instead of “fishing” for information in hopes of finding something relevant.

MacFarlane was reportedly requesting information related to the Navy Yard shooting last year, according to Politico.

The Navy tweeted this apology:

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