City Desk

Judge Denies Protective Order for Easily Accessible Document

Yesterday a Superior Court judge denied a request by the D.C. Attorney General's office to seal exhibits entered into public record by two UDC professors as part of a FOIA lawsuit. The professors sued for the Department of Corrections' emergency plans at D.C. Jail, the city said releasing them would cause a terrorist attack, and then, after it turned out you could get the withheld document from the department's own website via Google, the District government demanded that the court force the professors not to tell anybody.

This absurd FOIA battle was the subject of a Sep. 22 City Paper story. The document is no longer directly accessible from the D.C. government's website, but please feel free to download it from the Washington City Paper's website.

The D.C. Jail went into lockdown the same day the story came out. The Department of Corrections insisted that the lockdown was routine and had nothing to do with the story, which was very alarming, because if the department believes its own statements about the security threat posed by the release of this document, wouldn't you expect them to put the jail in lockdown or something when the document was publicized? Or maybe in this case the most alarming thing would be to know the government believes its own statements.

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