The transparency of government was one of America’s founding principles. When members of the general public want to know more about the government’s workings, Freedom of Information Act requests have become a common practice. In my capacity as both a political advisor and a journalist, many have been filed. To date, there are many FOIA requests that I am still waiting for regarding COVID information. Many of these have been delayed by the fact they found me to be a journalist. RedState as “not real journalism.” Unfortunately, I do not have the financial resources to mount a legal challenge to their statements, so now I just have to get in line and wait for my requested information to return.
Fortunately for us, some organizations have the resources to take on these lying sacks of crap in government, and the organization called “Public Health and Medical Professionals for Transparency” filed suit against the FDA and Pfizer regarding their plan to take decades to release the data regarding the vaccines. On Thursday, a US District Judge released a decision that ordered the FDA and Pfizer to release the vaccine data – data they had initially proposed to release at a rate of 500 pages per month – at an astounding rate of 55,000 pages per month. The release will be complete in just a few decades thanks to this.
Pfizer and FDA tried to claim that the data was confidential and needed review before being released. This required a longer release time. The Judge didn’t buy that:
Here, the Court recognizes the “unduly burdensome” challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA. See also ECF Nos. 23, 30, 34. But, as expressed at the scheduling conference, there may not be a “more important issue at the Food and Drug Administration . . . The Pfizer vaccination, which prevented the spread of the pandemic, ensured that every American was vaccinated. [and]To ensure that Americans are aware that this is not the case Hurry[ed]On behalf of the United States . . .” Therefore, the Court concludes this FOIA request to be of public paramount importance. [emphasis added]
In my FOIA requests for the NIH/CDC that were denied by them unilaterally, I tried to present a similar argument to the court. This argument states that sometimes denying information or data can be just as harmful as delaying its release.
And “Congress has long recognized that ‘information is often useful only if it is timely’ and that, therefore ‘excessive delay by the agency in its response is often tantamount to denial.’” Open Soc’y Just. Initiative v. CIA, 399 F. Supp. 3d 161, 165 (S.D.N.Y. 2019) (quoting H.R. REP. NO. 93-876, at 6271 (1974)).
This statement struck me as ironic. Congress denied my request for information regarding the Jan 6th Riots and their video coverage. Congress’s response? FOIA applies only to Executive Agencies.
“[S]tale information is of little value.” Payne Enters., Inc. v. United States, 837 F.2d 486, 494 (D.C. Cir. 1988). The Court, agreeing with this truism, therefore concludes that the expeditious completion of Plaintiff’s request is not only practicable, but necessary. Bloomberg, L.P. in FDA v. 500 F. Supp. 2d 371, 378 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 15, 2007) (“[I]t is the compelling need for such public understanding that drives the urgency of the request.”). To that end, the Court further concludes that the production rate, as detailed below, appropriately balances the need for unprecedented urgency in processing this request with the FDA’s concerns regarding the burdens of production. See Halpern v. FBI, 181 F.3d 279, 284–85 (2nd Cir. 1991) (“[FOIA]It is important to emphasize the importance of ensuring that all information about an agency can be disclosed. This will allow for a balanced assessment of competing interests. . . .”).
The court found that what I had been told by the NIH – that I was just going to have to accept the delay of the data I had requested – amounted to the same as a denial. Eventually, when all the temporary COVID measures and any future viruses threats are made permanent, nobody will be bothered. It is now that this information can be made public. Information regarding the funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology continues to be available today, despite an investigation into the laboratory for a possible lab leak. It’s important that this funding is stopped in the event that the virus originates from that lab. Now is the best time to discover if vaccines have long-term consequences.
One could expect this decision to be appealed, so the story isn’t over yet, but buckle up. The order will be stayed until further proceedings can take place.