March 30th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) will file an appeal Wednesday to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection over their denial of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the detention of highly acclaimed Afghanistan war journalist Michael Yon at Seattle Tacoma International Airport on January 5th, 2010.
Yon described the incident on his Facebook page, in the following way, "Got arrested at the Seattle airport for refusing to say how much money I make. (The uniformed ones say I was not "arrested", but they definitely handcuffed me.) Their videos and audios should show that I was polite, but simply refused questions that had nothing to do with national security."
The ALG FOIA request seeks to determine the circumstances around the incident including any policies or instructions that are provided to agents related to appropriate questions that should be asked of incoming citizens.
Ironically, the initial FOIA request was denied on March 1st, 2010, just two weeks before the Obama Administration's self-proclaimed "Sunshine Week", where they applauded themselves for the work that has been done to increase transparency.
ALG and other groups have been increasingly frustrated by the lack of responsiveness of the Administration to FOIA requests, most notably a still unanswered request for information related to controversial Office of Legislative Counsel appointee Dawn Johnson's involvement in staffing decisions while she still awaits confirmation.
Mr. Yon's original Facebook feed: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelYonFanPage?v=feed&story_fbid=273914137066
U.S. Department of Justice's release on FOIA's and "Sunshine Week" http://www.justice.gov/oip/foiapost/2010foiapost8.htm
Original Yon FOIA request
DOJ Denial of FOIA
Yon FOIA request appeal