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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

FOI and the Conga Line

Summer blog

My summer reading included "Jonestown" by Chris Masters - what a story, and a slight professional connection - many of the letters sent by Alan Jones to ministers and quoted in the book, were accessed under Freedom of Information.

My reading didn't extend to Conga Line of Suckholes: Mark Latham's Book of Quotations, MUP, 2006, but thanks to an alert reader, I bring to you the following (p 67.)

On July 4, 1967, in the White House, President Lyndon Johnson signed a measure called the Freedom of Information Act. At the signing ceremony he declared, 'Freedom of information is so vital that only the national security, not the desire of public officials or private citizens, should determine when it must be restricted.' No sooner had Johnson spoken than a reporter asked if he could obtain a copy of the original draft of these remarks. It was the first request made in the first full radiant flush of the new freedoms guaranteed by the act. Johnson turned him down cold. (As quoted in Alvin Toffler, Powershift, 1996.)

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