In January, 2007, AHCJ member and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Alison Young asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 4,000 pages of documents, all discussing the threats to the agency’s reputation posed by her work and that of her co-workers.
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The CDC says it takes an average of 38 days to process Freedom of Information Act requests, yet the Atlanta paper has several requests still pending after a year or two. In a recent column, Young takes the tardy agency to task, citing President Obama’s request for openness.
In the AJC’s case, the CDC said it fears publishing the records “would interfere with the agency’s deliberative process and have a chilling effect on employee discussions.” The records are being withheld under an FOIA exemption for internal documents that are part of the agency’s deliberative process.