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The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): News and Quotes

"The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government." ~foia.gov

FOIA in the News

Important Quotes

  • Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.- James Madison
  • A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both. - James Madison
  • Trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty!- John Adams 
  • Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know.- John Adams
  • Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show it can bear discussion and publicity. - Lord Acton
  • The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be,  secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them. - Patrick Henry
  • The liberties of people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.- Patrick Henry
  • Government ought to be all outside and no inside. . . . Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.- Woodrow Wilson
  • Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety. - Woodrow Wilson
  • Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government.- Jeremy Bentham
  • Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.- Louis D. Brandeis
  • Transparency is Big Government’s worst enemy.-Mark Tapscott
  • Excessive administration secrecy... feeds conspiracy theories and reduces the public's confidence in government. John McCain
  • I'll turn the page on a growing empire of classified information. We'll protect sources and methods, but we won't use sources and methods to hide the truth. -Barack Obama
  • The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. – Barack Obama
  • We need a return to transparency and a system of checks and balances, to a president who respects Congress' role of oversight and accountability.- Hillary Clinton
  • Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful . . .and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.- George Orwell
  • Press releases tell us when federal agencies do something right, but the Freedom of Information Act lets us know when they do not.- Patrick Leahy
  • When information which properly belongs to the public is systematically withheld by those in power, the people soon become ignorant of their own affairs, distrustful of those who manage them, and - eventually - incapable of determining their own destinies. -Richard Nixon
  • ...a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is afraid of its people. - John F. Kennedy
  • The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings,- John F. Kennedy
  • We seek a free flow of information...we are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values.- John F. Kennedy
  • One of the things that almost never works is secrecy - particularly secrecy in defense of dumbness.-Newt Gingrich
  • Those willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty.- Benjamin Franklin
  • The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of its people, and a people strong enough and well informed enough to maintain its sovereign control over its government.-  Franklin Delano Roosevelt