Always a Catch
February 13, 2003 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Freedom of Information The Department of Defense has released a training video for teaching its staff how to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests. Oddly enough, we can't get a look at it because its classified. "It seems ironic, very ironic," says Mike Ravnitzky, a writer for American Lawyer magazine. Ravnitzky's request for the video was turned down twice, with the Defense Department citing the Freedom of Information Act's trade secret exemption. These government people are a laff riot.
posted by The Raven (7 comments total)
We must give up our rights and freedoms in order to protect our rights and freedoms. Got a problem with that? :-)
posted by nofundy at 12:25 PM on February 13, 2003

Wait, isn't using short clips in an original work fair use? So this is complete bullsh*t isn't it?
posted by Mark Doner at 12:32 PM on February 13, 2003

woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo woo
Godwin Alert! Godwin Alert! Godwin Alert! Godwin Alert! Godwin Alert! Godwin Alert!

"Don't tell them ... then it will not exist ..." -Chief Nazi "Information Officer" Joseph Paul Goebbels (in Goebbels, From Economics to Publicity, ed. 1955, Alles die Zeitungen collection, Dr. Herzbold Neher)
posted by troutfishing at 12:40 PM on February 13, 2003

It was necessary to destroy the constitution in order to preserve it.
posted by Slagman at 2:12 PM on February 13, 2003

So the film features clips from Casablanca. Can we speculate? I betcha it's the scene where Louis remarks: "I am making out the report now. We haven't quite decided if he committed suicide or died trying to escape."
posted by aladfar at 3:34 PM on February 13, 2003

I found this personal site of the copywriter on the project, who describes it as follows:
Humphrey Bogart and the cast of Casablanca serve as the inspiration for this four-part Casablanca video training series targeted at DoD personnel responsible for processing FOIA requests submitted by the public. In the overview video, a character known as Trench Coat (actually Rick's son) keeps a close eye on a Large Man and a Veiled Lady as they attempt to gain access to the contents of a mysterious envelope that has found its way into the Pentagon mailroom. Speaking from exotic locations such as a corner table in the Cafe Informatif, the gun deck of one of the last W.W.II Liberty Ships, and the cockpit of a Presidential helicopter, Trench Coat guides the viewer through the ins and outs of handling freedom of information requests so that disclosure is maximized and legitimate secrets are protected. Follow on videos brief the audience on specific aspects of FOIA, such as fees, exemptions, and procedures.
Does sort of seem to imply that the information seeker is a sinister enemy, from that brief overview.
posted by hairyeyeball at 5:32 PM on February 13, 2003

the training video follows a character named Trench Coat as he guides the viewer through the ins and outs of a handling freedom of information requests
I love that the character is called 'Trench Coat'. Who thought that one up?
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:24 PM on February 13, 2003

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