Unimaginative FOIA Questions from GAO



The GAO has compiled an enormous document to help the Senate confirm political appointees, and has created sample questions to ascertain their qualification. I’m disappointed in the technology and information management questions, which are all unimaginatively about FOIA. (see blockquote below)

What would you ask political appointees to ascertain their technological chops? How would you get their views on transparency?

(via Mother Jones, GAO pdf here.)

Ensuring Citizen Access to Government Information 16. Based on the principles of openness and accountability in government, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives the public the right to access government records and information. What challenges would Page 141 GAO-09-194 Eliciting Nominees’ Views on Management Challenges

Appendix XXXIII: Information and Technology Management

you foresee in supporting these principles while still ensuring that certain kinds of government information are protected from disclosure, such as privacy-related information? 17. What kind of information would you envision presenting the greatest challenges? 18. Responding to FOIA requests requires agencies to be able to find and review information. What experience do you have that would help your agency take measures to maximize the efficiency of such processes?

Update: To be clear, GAO is a huge fan of transparency, and has questions throughout the 150 page document that assert transparency’s role in effective agency management. I’m specifically (mildly) disappointed in the GAO’s handling of the technology and information management section of the document.