US seeks to overhaul law on freedom of information

The administration proposed massive changes Thursday in the Freedom of Information Act, including provisions for excluding government files on terrorism, organized crime, and foreign counterintelligence.

The Justice Department explained to a Senate judiciary subcommitte that hostile government intelligence agencies and extremist groups now use the act to try to uncover US informants and learn government strategies. To prevent this, the department said, Congress should allow the attorney general to declare the files exempt from mandatory disclosure under the act.

The recommendations were contained in a "Freedom of Information Improvements Act of 1981," introduced by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) of Utah.

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