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Jason Chaffetz

After 50 years, the Freedom of Information Act needs updating

After 50 years, the Freedom of Information Act needs updating

In 1953, newspaper attorney Harold Cross authored a report titled “The People’s Right to Know,” in which he made the case for government transparency. “Public business is the public’s business,” he wrote. “Freedom of information is their just heritage. Without that, the citizens of a democracy have but changed their kings.”

His report came out amid Cold War paranoia and heightened government secrecy, when Washington had gone so far as to classify the amount of peanut butter that U.S. forces consumed. But Cross’ efforts, alongside the tireless advocacy of Congressman John Moss, led President Lyndon B. Johnson, on July 4, 1966,...

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